Good afternoon and a big welcome to Barnes for the last game of the season, and if it’s anything like the first game against each other on the opening day of the season it will be a cracker.
Looking back It’s been a long season and I’m sure both squads will be looking forward to the break and resting the bodies, as probably the same for Barnes as it is for us, there are a number of players playing week in week out with little niggles that just need time to heal. We had hoped it wouldn’t go to the last day of the season but unfortunately it has, but then you wouldn’t have all the excitement had we been in mid table.
The Lydney team today are totally focused on the match ahead and understand nothing but a win will do to guarantee survival. It’s been an odd season with points at the start and at the end and nothing in the middle.
Injuries have played a big part this year and the one game where we showed so much promise was the home fixture against Richmond which we drew 35-35. For me this was probably the best performance of the season but crucially, one where we lost several key players through injury. Butch Holder dislocated and chipped his shoulder and was out for the rest of the season, losing Butch was a bitter blow, as for so many years he has shored up the midfield and provided the team with lots of confidence, finding a midfield partnership that worked, then took us several months. Dave Bennett also damaged his knee ligaments in the same game and several other key players also picked up knocks. Not forgetting Brett Turner who you will remember had that horrific break against Shelford just a few week earlier which also ended his season, all this really highlighted our limited squad depth.
The only positives to come out were the blooding of several young players still in their teenage years. Josh Innis, Luke Kell & Matty Williams were just three players that i watched this time last year as young boys in an U17’s National Final with Hucclecote and identified as possible 1st xv squad players. They have all matured immensely over the year and have bright futures ahead; both Luke and Josh will start in the centre today in their 1st year of senior rugby, a long way from U17’s days which is credit to them both.
The whole squad in my opinion deserve a medal, they have been absolutely fantastic , coping with very limited playing resources and a zero playing budget, it no secret the players have not been paid to play or travel and the ones that live outside of the town in Gloucester and Cheltenham have funded all their own travel three times a week to training and games from July last year, and why... because of what it means to play at Lydney, we have a great club and great supporters and they enjoy being a part of it.
Just to survive in this league alone against the playing budgets’ and facilities of our rivals is an achievement in itself. Canterbury, Newbury, Bridgewater, North Walsham, Chinnor, Mounts Bay, Old Pats and Hinkley have all failed in their quest, many spending many thousands to no avail.
Time to say farewell
For me i feel this is the right time to step down, I’ve been involved in first team since the early nineties as a player, and 6 years as a coach, and will therefore step down after today’s game.
I have enjoyed myself immensely over the years but feel it’s time to invest some quality time into my family, especially wife Emma and children Chloe and Jack, who have put up with me being away Tuesday & Thursday evenings and every Saturday, oh and not to mention being on the phone constantly 24/7
There is a few i would like to thank at the club, sorry i can’t mention all, but a big thank you to all those volunteers at the club that have spent endless hours working behind the scenes looking after the ground and the changing rooms week after week like Roger Wildin, Richard & Jay Powell Dave Nelmes and of course my father Dave Bartlett. The gate committee headed up by the ferret (Ronnie Bryant) and not forgetting the Ladies committee who have fed us well after each game. Nelmer and Village, both long term friends with the team admin. Thank you.
Another fantastic volunteer who i would like to say a special thank too is Adam McCormick (1st team Phisio) Adam will also be stepping down after serving the 1st team for 6 years, spending long hours providing an excellent service to the team ensuring the players have the best possible treatment, he’s a great friend and i appreciate him helping me out during the last few years keeping me company on the odd 5 hour bus trip..
Thank you Adam.
Enjoy the Game and ill see you next season 5 mins before KO at the bar....
Director of rugby