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2012/13 Worthians Rugby Season

2012/13 Worthians Rugby Season

The 2012-13 Season was a tough one for the Worthians RFC team – both on the pitch and off it. For the second year since promotion we braved the vicissitudes of Surrey League 2, facing substantial Clubs running three teams and training twice a week in a highly competitive league with all teams pushing for promotion.
In the summer we took the positive step of hiring a fitness coach who led some very energetic, structured and well attended training sessions during August and September 2012. This resulted in a flying start in early September with a strong all round team performance and an outstanding win against a Surrey League 1 team (Old Walcountians) in the RFU Junior Vase competition. The day following this victory was the annual Worth game between ‘young’ and ‘old’ Worthians, which was a fantastic contest and came down to a last minute solo try from Ben Green to give the older Worthians victory.
The first league game was against the Law Society and there were some difficult selection decisions to be made, with more than 30 players available to play. The game itself started with high intensity and within 20 minutes the Worthians were 10-0 up with two smartly executed tries. We dominated possession and territory for the first half, but the Law Society managed to sneak a try against the play in the last minute of the half which brought them back into the game. Unfortunately the second half started with a catalogue of injuries to four of our forwards – Jack Bodkin, Andy Bayles, Giles Heather and Chris Madsen – and our possession dried up. With a number of our injured players forced back onto the pitch in the latter stages, the boys
rallied in the closing moments of the game with a slick handling move that went from our own try line to theirs. But we were unable to force the score, and, unfortunately came up short by just 6 points.
The bad news was that several of the injuries were serious and we lost players for significant parts of the season, including Chris Madsen for the whole season. As the injury list grew, the Worthians struggled to get a full 18 man squad for the next game. In this highly physical league, three bench substitutes are always needed. This trend seemed to continue in the run-up to Christmas and, with key players such as guest Frankie Williams (our match-winner and the Worthians’ version of George North) moving out of the London area, results just didn’t go our way. Despite this the team spirit never faded and the team improved with each game.
There were several very close results and some notable team performances. Against Old Tonbridgians (one of the two sides that ended up being promoted), we led throughout the game until a last minute half-way penalty kick which gave the opposition victory by one point. Alex Podbury produced a stormer of a game, playing in a new
role at centre, and dominated with strong tackling and skilful boot clearances.
In the forwards; prop Dave ‘Doz’ Osborne had a strong start to the season but unfortunately he joined the casualty list
when he badly injured his knee early on while captaining the side – which meant he would play no further part in the
season. Doz’s brother, Peter, had his first full season with the Worthians, showing flexibility in playing prop or 2nd row
– as well as lifting, jumping and throwing in the line out. Newcomer Marco Boodramsingh also propped for the
Worthians and never took a step back when scrummaging against larger opponents. Richard Brown was ever-present around the pitch playing at second row, and he was strong in the line out and support play, often winning vital opposition ball. Dan Pring, James Madsen, Andy Bayles, Simon Jukes, guest Ed Rayfield, Giles Sacarello and Dom Bosher all made the hard yards in the forwards pack on numerous occasions (with both Dom and Giles showing great flexibility to play in the backs as well). Tony Riley was also involved significantly in the later stages of the season and showed real class in scoring eight tries in five games as well as turning over opposition ball on countless occasions. Xavi Bottino also added grit and power to the team later on in the season and Andrei Kanchelsis proved his value as a very mobile hooker.
In the backs, Ollie Owen (guest) made the scrum half position his own and the forwards thrived on him bossing the game. Rob Cottrell and Jamie Bruce also covered the scrum half position well. Nick Hopkins played fly half for the majority of the season and used his big boot to great effect. It was also good to see Mark Breen back in action showing great flair at 10. Adam Braverman boshed it up in the centre and rarely missed a tackle. Craig Monterio, when free of Rugby League duties, put in show some massive hits while playing for the Worthians. Eastbourne brothers Stu and Rory Garratt often contributed to the side when not injured or at university. Kevin Danagher, at full-back, added his silky runs to the back-line cutting through the opposition defences. On the wings, Chris Brown showed patches of his raw pace and strength; while Ben Calnan tackled anything in front of him when playing. Ozzie Idemudia added more options when cutting into midfield after joining the Club later in the season – along with the welcome return of Rob Rooney.
The player of the season was undoubtedly Giles Heather who showed fantastic commitment to the Worthians cause
– always holding his own in the front row, and often getting the nudge on opposite props who weighed significantly more than him. The forwards often dominated opponents with their ‘pick and go’ tactics, where Giles was always at
the forefront.
Sadly, in addition to the difficult season on the playing side, we lost two of our founder members. Our President, Glenn Robertson, died unexpectedly on the golf course in October; while Paul Kozary, long-term prop, Vice-President, Fixtures Secretary and ‘a Worthians fixture himself’, was lost to pancreatic cancer in January 2013 at just 46 years of age. Glenn was known to all Worth rugby players for the last 30 years and was a key driver in the foundation of Worthians RFC; while Paul was a fine prop and a true and kind Worthian who had helped in the overall development of the Club as well as the development of many players from Worthians RFC’s very earliest days. Glenn and Paul will be remembered in the years to come through two new awards: ‘The Glenn Robertson Worthians RFC Challenge Trophy’ – contested between ‘young’ and ‘old’ annually in September – and ‘The Paul Kozary Memorial Cup’ which will be awarded annually to the ‘Player of the Season’.
Our season finished on a strong note with successful performances at the Sevens Competitions. The regular senior players wisely opted for a ‘youth’ policy and enlisted reinforcements in the form of Tom Poynder and school rookies James Kemp, Max Bergot and Angus Bonner who, with parental permission, were drafted into the Sevens Squad. The highlight was at Egham where the presence of Max and James helped us cruise effortlessly to the semifinal of the main competition, which we were unlucky to lose when 19-7 up with just a few minutes to go. James gave the most impressive display of straight running centre play seen on the Worthians pitch all season and he scored six tries on the day, adding to the five he had bagged at Caterham a few weeks before.
Recruitment in recent years has been very successful – largely due to the influence of Nick Elvidge who has worked tirelessly to improve the contact with our recent leavers. The focus is provided by two early season fixtures – the Cronk-Cunis Under-21 XV’s Festival in August and the ‘young’ versus ‘old’ Worthians game which takes place at Worth School each September. Both events always prove to be very popular with our younger players and recent leavers.
This coming 2013-14 season looks promising – with several new Worthian faces in the team and a significant proportion
of last year’s group already committed to the season and determined to play good quality, entertaining rugby.
And we are absolutely delighted that Nick Walshe (B’92) has found time, amongst his England Under-20 Coaching
duties, to accept the role of President of the Club, in succession to Glenn. We look forward to another 20 years of great enjoyment and huge success!
Jack Bodkin (G’03) and Desmond Calnan (R’69)