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Melksham RFC end of year report

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I bid you “Good day” people of Melksham,

I have been involved with the rugby club that represents you, based alongside Melksham Town Football Club out at Oakfields, since June of 2019.  So, six months in, I thought that I’d provide you with a status report.

My name is Chris Chudleigh and I am the man who has been entrusted with growing the on-field capabilities of the rugby players at the club.  I’ve coached at every level below the Premiership and worked with many Premiership and International players and coaches.   Along the way, I’ve learned lots of stuff from guys who knew a lot more than me.  I’m thoroughly enjoying passing that on to the people of Melksham Rugby Club.  I arrived to see a group of motivated and enthusiastic people aged 4 to 44yrs old.  I tend to usually deal with the senior men, but the women have been breaking new ground this year, having entered a competitive league.

Melksham RFC has been blessed with wonderful facilities, the people have a strong sense of belonging to the club, which is anchored massively to the town itself.  I have never before been involved at a club that drew its players entirely from the town it was based and this is a unique strength of which they are justifiably proud. 

I tend to shout a lot, my bark is without doubt worse than my bite, but the players haven’t sussed that out yet.  As a result, they are working their socks off in training and it has really shown on the pitch.  If my shouting helps them achieve their potential then that makes me happy.  Results and performances have steadily improved to the point that we enter 2020 in a very healthy position in our league, other teams are talking about us pushing for promotion, and our players thoroughly enjoying being the bullies on the block.

So why am I writing this half-yearly update?  I want you to take an interest in a part of your community that is making the rest of Wiltshire sit up and take notice.  This club is a jewel in your midst, it is welcoming, enthusiastic and totally inclusive.  And.. when it keeps winning, that reflects positively on you.  Whether you like rugby or not!  There’s nothing wrong with a bit of reflected glory!

So if we continue to play well, grow our pool of players what does this mean?  In short it means that we will promote into a better league, we will need more players, of all ages, more people will be coming to Melksham, more people will be aware of Melksham, and we will need to prepare for competitive life, swimming with bigger fish.

This brings me onto some of the rugby stuff that I’ve kicked off.  We are bringing over some foreigners, 3 South Africans to be exact, who have ambitions to play professional rugby back in their homeland.  Here to learn how to cope with lousy weather and warm beer for a season.  BUT the pay off is that we get to send young players from Melksham out there for the summer to learn at one of the greatest rugby stadiums in the world, in Durban, home of The Sharks.

I won’t bang on about everything that we are planning or have done, I just want to whet your appetite, spark something in you that makes you want to come along, and either watch, or play, or anything.  Just get involved with something that has been on your doorstep that you might have driven past a thousand times but never ventured in.

I’m not from these parts, I don’t have many allegiances to particular places having moved every couple of years either through rugby or my other job.  So I have no axe to grind or agenda.  Melksham is already a special club to me.  I am not prejudiced, I shout at everyone, but as you now know that just means I like you.

So as we approach Christmas I’d just like to say thank you to Melksham RFC for the fantastic welcome, and most importantly to everyone else:

“You have something quite special in your little town, why don’t you come along and see what’s going on?”

Happy Christmas.


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