“We now look forward with great optimism, opportunity and excitement to driving Brixham Rugby Club to be the South West's best club at our level; and to strongly lead for others to follow as we all continue to support the mighty Fishermen!”
Chris Forster, Club Chairman
Once again I am privileged to be elected as your chairman and very much look forward to seeing many of you during this coming year at Astley Park.
Big Changes to the Coaching Team
At the 2016-17 AGM I reluctantly announced the resignation of coach Dan Parkes, this meant a frantic re-think at the very start of the new season with a search for a new coach, this was further compounded by a number of key players moving away from the club. After a few months of headache, long conversations and a search for a new coach and players we came to the conclusion that rather than asking Graham Dawe who we should seek to recruit, that he would in fact be the man for us. So we now have an excellent coaching team of Graham, Martin Worthington and now with Jon Ellery returning to lead us again this year.
On Field Successes
Last year on the field we achieved our goals set before the season, our Colts had a really good year winning two trophies including the Devon Plate at Sandy Park, and our thanks have gone already to Matt Dodd who had led his team from under 7’s right up to Colts. Matt is moving to Cornwall and we do wish him all the very best.
After a number of years with a break in the competition it was great to see the Brewer Cup return and in a format that I am sure would have pleased Reg Brewer. The new format of an under 21’s and over two legs is very well thought out. Going into the second leg 14 points behind set our players a real challenge and for them to win the cup at home was a great bonus.
The Crusaders had a reasonable season and they did themselves proud in the way they ended the season with passion and commitment that we do hope will be carried forward.
The first team had another good year by achieving a good top half finish in a strong league and did something that no other Brixham team has done in our history, getting through to the Devon Cup Final for the third year in a row by beating our two closest rivals in great games that will be remembered for a long time. Then to be handed a home final was the icing on the cake and the opportunity to win the Cup at home for the first time ever! This we did and all at the game enjoyed a fantastic day and once again Brixham Rugby Club, not only showed what we can do on the pitch but also proved that we have the best hospitality, facilities and can generate the best atmosphere in the South West! Well done to the team on the field and all who worked and contributed before on and after, a fantastic day. Thank you to all.
Yet More Achievements
I want to pay tribute to all our players that have represented this great club from all levels, all coaches, team managers, and everyone that does so much to ensure that Brixham rugby is the best we can make it. We do wish those who have moved on this year the very best and showed our appreciation at the D&D. I also wish to acknowledge the great achievement of 200 first team appearances this year by Sam Thomas and Tom Goodman, embroidered framed shirts have been presented to them both and they join Adam Thomas and Ben Lovell, in their achievement within this modern era. This year for the second time in a row, and as outright winners, Brixham RFC have won the David Smith trophy in recognition of great hospitality given to the referees in our league.
Off the Field
Once again I would start by expressing my thanks to all who have contributed to the club's success, and would want to pay special tribute to our president Ray Gardner, Steve Shipway and James Irvine who, along with all members of the Executive have worked hard to drive the club forward. Each member has contributed in their own way.
I would also like to pay tribute to all our paid staff, past and present for their support and efforts made.
As a club we continue to invest in many areas and we do thank Ray for driving this activity forward. The Youth section continues to go from strength to strength and we do thank all that work so hard with them. Helen Roberts has passed the chairman’s mantle to Lee Harris and we do thank Helen for all she has done and look forward to growing our good relations with Lee and the whole youth team.
Over the last few months we have been working on our new strategic plan. Under the excellent leadership of Bryan Pitman we have ready our three year plan and a new way of working for the future. The key point is that it will require all of us to be on board and play our individual parts to continue to make BRFC a success.
Role of Chairman - The Future
At the last AGM I advised the club that I would be stepping down from the role of chairman this year. Despite a lot of advertising and discussions, as yet no one has stepped forward. Looking at the jobs that it has entailed it is not surprising, however that is not a reason not to have a change. As part of the strategic review we have looked at how we can reduce the role of the Chair, and spread the tasks wider. It is good that a few people have stepped up to volunteer for certain tasks but we still need more. I think that once we have explained the new way forward to you and we have all bought into it, the role of chairman or chairwoman would become more attractive to a new individual. We need to work together to make this happen and still need others to take on responsibilities.
After much deliberation I am prepared to continue as chairman and support the club and Exec to identify the right successor. However, I do have to say that if things don’t change, and I fully acknowledge that this is also one of my responsibilities, I will not be able to carry on and have advised the Executive to that effect.
Chris Forster, Club Chairman
Updated 15:41 - 13 Dec 2017 by David Peck