For the millions of sports people around the globe there will always be one iconic venue where they would love to perform. Football – The Maracana. Golf – Augusta. Cricket – Lords. And for Rugby Lovers – TWICKENHAM.
For the huge majority of grass roots players, the dream of actually playing at HQ will always remain that and will never come true….or will it?
Rugby Monthly recently followed Droitwich RFC from Midlands 3 West to Twickenham when their dreams became a reality after lining up a cup final with Farnham in the RFU Senior Vase. For most of the coaches and players this would be the pinnacle of their rugby life, but the journey to get there began way back.
It would be fair to say that 3-4 years ago Droitwich RFC, like plenty of other clubs, were struggling!
Although trying to regularly field 2 senior teams they found this very difficult with only 7 or 8 players turning up to train. Results were going against them and players and fans were drifting away. Things needed to be addressed, and fast. In June of 2016 the winds of change started to blow through the club when Adam Drew, a club member for nearly 15 years, was asked to take over as Director of Rugby. Having previously represented England U18 and having been at Worcester RFC, Adam took up the challenge with relish.
Adam spoke to Rugby Monthly about what he faced and how things changed – “After being appointed DoR we put a whole new management structure in place at the club so we had some fresh perspectives and direction. Then we started to see numbers increase at training and players that had left come back. This is their home club and they were encouraged to see that change was at last taking place. It wasn’t too long before we regularly had 25-30 turning up.”
This enabled the coaching team to focus the players to work hard and hone their skills. The whole mind set of the club had changed and the mantra now was to take one game at a time once the season started.
This obviously worked as the 1st XV went the whole season unbeaten winning 22 games and wrapping up the league title with 4 games to go! The cup run was the icing on the cake. Every fixture up to the semi-final was an away game but once the final was won the dreams of everyone involved in the club suddenly became a reality.
Adam takes up the story – “Getting to play at Twickenham was amazing for the whole club and the area too. It lived up to every expectation you could ever have. Everyone was buzzing for weeks and I think they will be for years to come.
We took 10 coach loads down and 1,400 turned up to see us play. It was an experience I will never forget. It just goes to show what can be achieved by clubs and players at any level when hard work, passion and belief are at the forefront of everything you do.”
The legacy of a day out at HQ will be immense for the club. After such a great season the club have seen spectator numbers rise and it has given the whole club a good solid base on which to build. The junior section is thriving and the senior sides go from strength to strength.
However, Adam knows that they cannot become complacent – “Getting to play at Twickenham was just amazing. Losing the game however will probably make us stronger in the long run as we have learnt how to identify our mistakes, how to stay focussed and most importantly that as a team we have nothing to fear going forward!”