As we come to the end of another year, it is a good time to reflect on some rugby issues. The most obvious one is to wonder why we try to play during the winter. EK have long been advocates of summer rugby but sadly no other clubs seem interested.
The fact that we have not played any rugby in December due to weather is proof that it is a daft time of year to try to play outdoor sport in Scotland (apart from winter golf down in the micro climate of Troon!). What could be better than playing on a dry pitch, with the sun shining (well, we can dream, it is still – just – a leap year) with a short sleeved crowd supporting?
The other reflection is that the 1st XV have had a good season after an uncertain pre-season given the need to find a new coach at short notice. This is down to three factors, I think. One, our coaching team have done a great job in blending the various talents together, including creating a strong team spirit. Hats off to Allan Steel and Graeme Blackwood. Well done.
I should perhaps also thank last year’s coach – Jason Currie - for his efforts, having had to stand down as coach due to work reasons. Hope you are enjoying your job promotion!
The second factor is the lead shown by captain Gareth Jones. Gareth has always been a talented player but having the “burden” of captaincy has provided him with a real focus and drive that has made him our most consistent and reliable player of the season. He has also happily lost his tendency to give away silly penalties. Maturing nicely. Keep it up.
And thirdly, the players themselves have shown good spirit and application, and played some very attractive rugby. They are still a young bunch so there is still some growing to do but they have blended well, not least in defence.
Marr, the league leaders have the best defensive record, having conceded only 95 points, but EK are next best with 169 points conceded (51 of them to Marr!). One area to work on however is attack – we have only scored 150 points in 9 matches, some way short of other teams in our league.
We let a couple of matches slip away that we should have won, so hopefully in the second half of the league we will develop the knack of putting teams away. We certainly have the strikers to do this, and with the welcome return of Captain Pugwash, aka lock Paul Rosie, to add to our forward strength, we should be feeling reasonably confident of pushing for a second placed finish in the league (we are currently third).
Sadly, the 2nd XV have only played 3 matches this year – a mixture of shortage of players and dodgy weather/poor pitches. All credit to the players who continue to train – it’s pretty depressing when you are uncertain whether you will get a match at the weekend. Let’s hope for better in 2013.
If each player could just drag a mate along, it would make manager Bruce Beggans’ task of fielding a side each week so much easier. And it would be good to have more competition to get in to the 1st XV.
Thanks to everyone, particularly our sponsors – especially City Park Technologies and our Swedish Chef, Alex Gilmour and his team, and our groundsmen, Pat & Mick, for all your support this year.
And thanks to everyone associated with the Academy (juniors and Minis) – you are our lifeblood so we do appreciate your efforts.
Let’s aim for a great 2013. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.