The Way Forward

By Dave Picken - April 22 2020
The Way Forward The Covid-19 situation has, of course, brought this season to an abrupt end and the financial situation that has created is an unwelcome priority. However, so is rugby and the Rugby Management Committee has been busy drawing up plans for next season, and the seasons beyond, to capitalise on our strengths as a club .. 

Those attributes lie in the quality of the young players coming through from the junior section.

Graham Frankland , the outgoing Chair of Rugby Management,  says it's most important for their development that the youngsters are “rugby ready” when they become eligible to play senior rugby, and his committee has identified these new key roles to make sure that happens in the right way:

Senior Head Coach

We are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Senior Head Coach to continue the development of our adult teams.

Jamie Connolly brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience – learning his rugby in New Zealand and being a top-level professional for many years both with West, Worcester and L’Aquilla in Italy.

Most recently Jamie worked with former Coach Iain Dixon to introduce and implement the West Academy to our club's Mini and Junior section, having nurtured the inaugural Academy group of players with Mark Caswell from U9's through to their graduation as league winners -many of these players represented our senior teams last season.

Jamie is keen to promote a ‘Youth Policy’ managing the introduction of young players to the senior teams - players that will benefit from playing alongside experienced players who have made such a valuable contribution over recent seasons.

Over the coming weeks Jamie will be working behind the scenes to assemble a support team to work together, and in unison with the players, in developing a successful campaign for the coming season (whenever that may be).

Junior Head Coach

Stu Waites will be taking on this new important responsibility. His experience as a player and first team coach, as well as match-winning goalkicker, will command the respect of those youngsters.

We are very fortunate he has agreed to take on the role given his other commitments - he is Head of Maths at Manor Academy, expecting his first child in October (congratulations to Stu and Sam!) and keen to get back on the pitch - whether that is before or after another shoulder operation is not certain. Knowing Stu it will be as soon as possible.

It is a long-term project - over 5 to 10 years - with the aim of achieving a sustainable league position. The work that coaching co-ordinator Andrew Campbell and Rita Westhorp, the Chair of the Minis and Juniors, and their coaches have been putting in over the last few months is starting to pay dividends. The addition of Stu’s expertise in rugby and skills development will takes things to a new level.

Rugby Management

Graeme Southern has worked hard to assemble squads on Saturdays as well as devoting more time to the Stags management team - chasing players to play can be a thankless task. Graeme was thinking of stepping down, but has agreed to continue next season and will work with Stu, Jamie and Andrew in the development of West Rugby.

However, fixture secretary John Cole is retiring from that role. John has worked tirelessly, and often in difficult times as cancellations become more prevalent. He has been doing one of the most difficult jobs in the club for many years, as well as his many other jobs around the club, and the whole club is very grateful to him.

Scott Parker, who will also continue in the Stags management team, has kindly volunteered to take on the role with John and Les Smith offering to assist as he finds his feet. 

Finally, and after putting this new coaching plan together, Club President Graham Frankland is stepping down from Chair of Rugby Management – possibly to concentrate on keeping his place in the Vets team.

Dave Bennett will be taking over the reins. He’s putting together some willing and key volunteers, including Steve Clayton who will be first team manager.

The Way Forward
Official West Hartlepool RFC (IP Logged)
24/04/2020 09:25
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Re: The Way Forward
Carlo03 (IP Logged)
25/04/2020 23:20
Ian Wilson, Anthony Cameron, Carl Robinson????????????

Re: The Way Forward
Hardwick Man (IP Logged)
26/04/2020 19:48
John Cole........fantastic effort for many years. Take a bow

Re: The Way Forward
Parental Unit (IP Logged)
27/04/2020 11:45
Yes well done Coley. Good to see some forward planning taking place and the investment in our young players.
No mention of fitness as looking at these match videos we were competitive first half then dropped right off in the second. No doubt that is on the coaching agenda?

Re: The Way Forward
crosbys (IP Logged)
29/04/2020 19:32
Congratulations to all the new appointments, continuing appointments and to those retirees.
Our club depends on all of you.
Heart felt thanks to all club men and ladies.

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