This will be my fourth year as President. I feel honoured to have been offered this position for another year and look forward to the challenges ahead.
The league structure for season 17-18 is a Premier League of 10 teams and 3 National Leagues with 12 teams. We are in National 1, a very strong league with many challenges. New teams are Gala, Cartha Queens Park and Kelso. Our main objective is to finish in the top 4 and leave any thought of promotion to be dealt with if it becomes possible.
On the playing front we will be losing a few regular 1XV players. Others have finished their academic years at Aberdeen Universities and have returned to their original clubs. We wish them all the best with their new jobs/clubs. New players have been recruited from the new university intake and other local Clubs. We also welcome 3 new players from New Zealand. Drew Whitehead, Alec Dravitski and Bailey Walsh proposed by 2 ex-Grammar favourites who were Cam Eyre and Rob Aloe. Matthias Schosser (Taz) also returns from New Zealand.
For season 1027-18 the senior coaching team will be led by Ali O’Connor assisted by Rob Potter, Duncan Massey, Iain Stanger and Kevin Wyness. Fitness, Strength and Conditioning will be led by Jack Montgomery. 1st XV manager is John Stewart with the position of Club Captain going to Doug Russell. We believe this set up will allow us to build a club with strong bonds and leadership, enabling us to achieve our goals. Physiotherapy services will be provided by Physio Paws a company set up and run by Keith Raymond.
We are proud of our youth section where we have a team of coaches working hard to develop our Grammar players of the future. We are confident that many will go on to play for one of our senior teams.
Behind the scenes, Mike Cox takes over as Chairman from Gordon Thomson who is now Secretary and Director of Rugby. The committee members continue to make an essential contribution to the Club, assuring financial stability and the effective administration of all Club matters.
I thank all our sponsors, who are named throughout the programme. Without your backing we could not sustain our competitiveness and goal of returning to the highest level of Scottish Club Rugby. We need all the support we can muster and are grateful for your continuing support.
Finally, thanks to all our supporters. I look forward to seeing and hearing you at Rubislaw throughout the season.