This Saturday sees Oaks 4th XV entertain Vigo RFC at the Paddock with the match kicking off at 3pm. As well as facing Vigo in the league, we remember a former manager of what was then the AXV - now the 4s / Gents, and former Head Coach of Vigo, Jim Monks, who sadly passed away five years ago.
Jim arrived at Sevenoaks RFC from Bristol via the Isle Of Wight and made an immediate impact on the wing. In a side that blended youth with experience, headed by Paul Vizard, Jim had a knack of finding his way to the try line, often cheered on by family members as he teared down the touch line.
It was Jim's move to the 3rd XV which would allow him to make a significant impact, working alongside skipper Bryan Phillips to mould a team that would become one of the most successful Sevenoaks RFC teams in recent memory. With a team containing the likes of Will Rosier, Tommy Kelly, Dangerous Dave Baldwin and Frank Kavanagh, they swept all before them, winning the league title in style. Jim was at the forefront of creating a team that played hard rugby underpinned by a tenacious spirit.
Above all, a quiet and reserved man, Jim lived and breathed rugby's values on and off the pitch. A close team mate of Jim's, Frank Kavanagh paid tribute to Jim this week by saying 'Jim epitomised what every beating heart of a team is, making decisions for the best of the team even when it meant he would effectively drop himself, just to make sure that a W was achieved. And it was this selfless attitude that abounded throughout the team where whatever you need me to do became the mantra.'
Outside of the rugby environment, Jim worked for the Fire Brigade and even to this day his legacy in this field goes on, with Frank remembering 'He was not only a rugby man (Dangerous cannot claim exclusivity to this title), he was a fire fighter, before he realised he didn’t like fire (learning that it burned), resulting in a transition into a management role.'
'Any of you who attended the London Olympics, whether you knew it or not, had your safety assured by Jim, as he was Chief Fire Officer for the London Olympics. Whilst we knew all knew of his organisational and communication skills we only became aware of his inventiveness after his passing when it was revealed that Jim designed a device to assist in casualty removal from incidents in the underground (now used worldwide). Unlike some of us, he was never boastful, never pranced or was precious, Jim just got on with it. But his humour could be cutting, some people tried and failed to rile him with comments on not having it anymore, or cutting down over inflated ego’s of guys who had to be told that they couldn’t be the best players in the country as they were not even the best in their family! Like all good AXV players, Jim could cut and to the bone when needed.'
The match this weekend gives family, friends and team mates of Jim's the opportunity to remember the great man and also raise funds for the Anthony Nolan Trust, a charity which Jim gave significant amount of time and support to when he was alive.
Kick off is at 3pm, with festivities planned to go well into the night in memory of Jim.
Doubt is a Disease.