Chairman’s Report

Chairman’s Message 2018-19

Welcome to Aberdeen Grammar Rugby for another season of rugby in National 1 at Rubislaw.  As always, there are challenges ahead for the club on a number of fronts.  As many of you will be aware the F.P. Executive decided to sell the clubhouse in late 2017 and an offer has been accepted to sell the buildings and grounds at 86 Queens Road.  The club building will remain open for the duration of this season and plans are well advanced to move to an alternative establishment in the west end of Aberdeen.  Once this has been finalised members will be notified of the new arrangements.

On another critical issue is the re-structure of the top of the club game in Scotland for season 2019-20. Super 6 will commence with Melrose, Ayr, Stirling, Boroughmuir, Watsonians and Heriots all being SRU funded franchised clubs with SRU appointed coaches and part time professional players.

Their departure from the club game and move to the performance department of the SRU has led to the Agenda 3 proposal for club rugby to be launched without proper consultation or impact assessment.  The placement of the Super 6 clubs ‘amateur’ second string sides is a matter of debate and their inclusion in the new Championship/Premiership or National Leagues is vehemently opposed by all National 1 clubs and the 4 ex Premiership clubs who were not selected for Super 6.

The Agenda 3 initiative is complex and possibly well intended but the impact on National League clubs has the potential to be extremely damaging.  This issue has led to our club leading the debate at this year’s SRU AGM and hopefully a sensible structured league restructure takes place in 2019.  Irrespective of the ongoing debate we must finish in the top 6 of National 1 this season to ensure qualification for the new top club league in Scotland in 2019.

As always, we have personnel moving in and out of the club and our Chairman of last year Mike Cox has moved to Edinburgh for work reasons.  He remains on the committee which has been augmented by the return of Jim Rae as President who replaces Graham Barron, who has retired through ill health after many years of sterling service to the club. We welcome Ken Ironside, Sam Knudson and Donald McArthur to the committee.

Our coaching set up is headed by Ali O’Connor supported by Bailey Walsh, Ian Stanger and Duncan Massey.  Jack Montgomery leads the S & C and as always Louise McCullough provides her medical expertise. Jim Rae is working with Duncan Seller to enhance our communications and media presence and sponsorship packages. Duncan can be contacted on sellerduncan@gmail.com.

Player numbers are healthy from minis to senior sides with our U13- U18 merged with Wanderers to form Granite City Colts where we provide 5 coaches.  Our second XV remain in Caledonia North 2 and progressed well last season, finishing strongly.

This is a critical season for the club and if Aberdeen is to be represented in the new Championship we require the whole rugby community in Aberdeen to get behind us in this endeavour. 

I look forward to seeing old and new faces at Rubislaw this season and as always a warm welcome to all visiting teams and supporters who enjoy this great game.

Gordon Thomson

Chairman & Director of Rugby

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