Following the epic journey on social media, of the minis and juniors to Norfolk (and Merthyr for the Under 15s!) over the Bank Holiday weekend, I was filled with pride about how everyone is pulling together to make the One Club philosophy a reality. Consciously or not, it is becoming a powerful force.
Nowhere was this demonstrated more than Fitzy’s video of the Under 12s singing our adopted club song “Oh when the Oaks go marching in….”
OK so it’s not the most original song we could have adopted but when the 1st Team belt it out in the away team changing room of another London 1 club they have downed, it is powerful and inspirational. That the younger teams are now adopting it is just the best symbol of the philosophy in action.
Here is the reality – the senior teams really, really appreciate being supported by the rest of the club and it inspires and humbles them in equal measure. On the playing front our Mighty Oaks now range from a new Under 5 group, set up by Chris Bright, to the oldest of Acorns, blokes in their 50s who are still trundling around the rugby fields of Kent and when touring the hot spots of Eastern Europe…. although the songs they sing are a little too adult to pass on to the fellas who took Norfolk by storm just yet!
Last weekend the 1st team played their last game of the season away at Gosport & Fareham (although whilst the young people were tearing up Norfolk and Wales the 1s were winning the Tunbridge Wells 7s).
The trip to Gosport was a dead rubber in that they were already relegated and we were assured of 7th place, but the entertainment on the pitch was still excellent as the boys overcame a sluggish start to run in some superb tries in a 41-19 win. This time, however, the game was the support act to the day out.
Coach Bowman wisely lobbied to get a 53 seater coach booked and every place was taken and this created the most amazing atmosphere on the way home…aided in no small way by the ridiculous amount of port that was consumed too! Happily mixing in with the 20 somethings of the senior squad was a number of our most senior and venerable members of the Club and the spirit of togetherness was something to behold.
Why? Because every person on that bus, and every person on the Bank Holiday tours, was united in being a Mighty Oak. We live in some turbulent times right now and if we stop and think about the threats to our way of life we could run and hide. I, for one, am inspired, enthused, comforted and contented by the way that our community is coming together as One Club.
We have plans in place to shape what we do as a club on and off the field but you can never plan for the overwhelming sense of collective spirit that we have in our club right now – we all own it so let’s do everything we can to keep it going. Have a great summer guys and let’s get better and stronger next season.
Roger McKerlie, Director of Rugby