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Mike Gillick proud of foundations laid at Shelford Rugby Club

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Shelford Rugby Club's Mike Gillick. Picture: Cat Goryn
Shelford Rugby Club's Mike Gillick. Picture: Cat Goryn

Mike Gillick will take pride in the foundations put in place during his time as head coach at Shelford Rugby Club.

It has been a difficult season for the club in London & SE Premier with only one win, ending in relegation, but that does not tell the true story of a season that has capped off a turbulent few years.

While it is easy to get drawn to results, the backdrop to the campaign puts into context what they have had to contend with at the Davey Field.

An injury nightmare hit at the beginning of the season – ruling out up to 18 players – and that put huge pressure on those available, who ended up appearing in more than 25 games.

Gillick was one of those that played through the pain barrier, with both shoulder and hamstring injuries.

“It’s been a tough year, emotionally and physically,” he said. “When you’ve got a larger squad, you’ve got the ability to rotate, you keep everyone fresher.

“Physically the boys that have put the work in I’m hugely proud of. People like Shingai (Chiwanga) who has a fair few caps under his belt, but was playing through injuries just because he wants to see the best for his club – and I really commend boys like that. I thought that was really admirable.”

The desire to dig deep for the club has been matched by the development of players through Shelford’s youth system, which should stand them in good stead going forward.

“I know results haven’t gone our way, but with the help of Mikael (Biard), Rory (Finlayson), the colts and then Greg Hind as the team manager and Dan Richmond coming in, we’ve created a real homegrown club,” said Gillick.

“I said at the start of the year that I wanted it to be a homegrown club that is sustainable.

“I think we’ve done very well with the help of those blokes to nurture and develop our youth.

“We’ve got eight senior colts coming into our senior set-up which is huge.

“It’s really good and it’s a start to where we want to be. If we can produce from within it’s more cost effective, but it’s more than that.

“Culturally they have brought into the club, and the club’s DNA is ingrained in them.”

Gillick will hand the head coach baton to Paul Allen next season, but he will remain part of the coaching set-up and he believes that next year could be a springboard for something good at Shelford, who ended this campaign with a 20-8 defeat at Sidcup.

But he steps aside with pride at helping to bring different parts of the club together, such as the ladies’ side backing the first team and the involvement of some of the social rugby players in the seconds.

“I don’t have regrets,” said Gillick. “I’ve learned a huge amount about myself and coaching. From an experience point of view, I don’t think I’ll face anything this difficult again.

“But you just look at the morale of the boys and the unity the club now has.

“The club is in a much better place than when I started. I’m very proud of what I’ve done.”

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