Sidmouth Chiefs setto welcome RFU top two


- Credit: Archant

Sidmouth RFC are hosting two leading figures from the world of rugby this evening (Friday) as they welcome Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive officer Ian Ritchie and Steve Grainger MBE, the RFU development director, writes Steve Birley

Sidmouth chairman Lester Wilmington is delighted to be able to welcome the pair.

He says: “We will first be taking them to Sidford to see the work that has gone on there in terms of the ground development and then its back to the Blackmore where we will be showing them the refurbishment that has gone on at the club. Both projects have been generously supported by RFU funding for which we are very grateful.”

Sidmouth have certainly hosted some of rugby’s finest in recent years. They had a visit from Bill Beaumont CBE last year when England’s former captain took in the Sidford complex and also attended a dinner at the club and later this year another big name from the sport, Jason Leonard CBE, is paying a visit.

Wilmington says: “It’s terrific that we are able to get these sort of people to visit the club. It certainly shows that we do grasp opportunities as and when they present themsleves.”

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He continued: “The work that has been done, is being done, and is going to be done, does not come about without some extraordinary effort by club people. We are very fortunate at Sidmouth RFC to have some truly loyal folk who put in a lot of hours of unseen work and to each and everyone of them I am very grateful. We certainly do prise ourselves on the level of coaching we offer the younger players for without doubt it’s that particular source that the future of our club lies. Producing our own future talent is so important in terms of the bigger picture.

“I feel that we are moving forward in the right direction on and off the Blackmore and Sidford pitches. The youth section is growing well and we do now boast a strong girl’s section which is set to see three teams fielded next season. Last year the third fifteen was returned to action and I am delighted to see that they will play even more matches in the coming campaign.”

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In terms of the season ahead, the chairman says: “I do think we are going to enjoy a good season. It’s an important one in terms of the RFU league restructuring. We have some good young players coming through the ranks which is testament to the splendid work our junior coaching staff are doing and I think the future of the club is looking particularly healthy at this time. We seem to have found the right formula for success off the pitch and hopefully success on it will follow. That said, whilst winning is, of course, important, so is, for a club of our size and standing, the development of players, boys and girls and making sure that youngsters come into the sport,. Stay with it, and progress to the senior game.”

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