Sevenoaks RFC can confirm that Stuart Coleman is to step down from his role as 1st XV captain. Having been captain for three years, due to work and family commitments, Coleman sees it as the right time to step away from the role.
Since he took over the leadership of the side, Coleman has etched his name into Sevenoaks RFC folklore, leading the side to mid-table finishes in their first two seasons competing in London South 1, before his side won London South 1 in an unforgettable 2018/19 season. The 2018/19 season also saw the second row forward bring up his 150th 1st XV appearance.
On the news, Stuart said ‘It’s been a fairly natural decision for me. The role of captain requires a lot of focus, particularly as the squad enter a new league, and I wouldn’t be doing it justice if I wasn’t 100% focused. With a new baby daughter, increasing work commitments and having done the role for three years, I feel it’s appropriate for a fresh approach to take the squad to the next level.’
‘I have loved every minute of captaining the side. Everyone associated with the Club will know that I am a Sevenoaks RFC boy through and through. To play for the Club was special, but to captain this group to a league win and have a season like we just have – it’s something I’ll never forget and cherish for ever.’
Head Coach Adam Bowman was keen to sing his captains praises, saying ‘The one word I would use to describe Stuart is ‘immense’. As a coach, you want your captain to lead from the front and Stuart has done that every week. He’s always been at the coalface, leading the way and his performance levels have never dropped. He will be missed greatly as a leader – he has the upmost respect from every single player and member of Sevenoaks Rugby Club. I’ve really enjoyed working with Stuart over the past three years and will certainly miss his council. On behalf of the coaching team and playing squad, thank you Stuart.’
And Oaks Director of Rugby Roger McKerlie also heaped praise on Coleman, saying ‘We knew three years ago that Stuart was the standout choice for captaincy, but perhaps we didn’t realise how far he would take us. His name will be forever be associated with our most successful season as a Club in modern times and he deserves every accolade that comes his way. The way he conducts himself off the field has been just as important as when he has been on it. He’s been an excellent ambassador for the Club – win or lose, he’s always been approachable and happy to have a beer (or five!) with supporters after the game. I am sure he will be missed by many referees too, as his manner is exemplary and it is no coincidence that our penalty count has dropped over the past three years with Stuart at the helm. It’s testament to his leadership and the respect he commanded from the group.’
Chairman Trevor Nicholson, who played with Stuart’s Dad, Larry, said ‘Rugby is all about making memories with your closest mates on and off the field and I know that Stuart will have a load of special memories from his past three seasons as captain. In ten, twenty or thirty years, Stuart will be able to stand at the bar and regale everyone with the story of ‘that day in Thurrock’. It’s been a special time for the Club and Stu has been at the forefront of it. As a committee, we can’t thank him enough for his time and commitment on and off the pitch. If he enjoyed himself half as much as we did watching him, then he’ll have had a heck of a time!’
And so, the final word to the departing skipper ‘I just want to thank everyone who has supported me for the past three years and beyond, in particular my wife Cleodie, as well as my Mum and Dad. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the committee, the coaching staff and every single supporter who has cheered us on home and away. Lastly, to all the players – you have made my role easy as a captain and it’s been a real honour to lead you these past years and I’ve had a ball off the field with you too. Thank you.’
On behalf of everyone at Sevenoaks RFC, thank you Stuart!