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Social Squadron takes flight at Shelford Rugby Club

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New Shelford Social Squadron coach Paul Gething, centre, with John Clements, left, and Tom Arnold. Picture: Shelford Rugby Club. (39881542)
New Shelford Social Squadron coach Paul Gething, centre, with John Clements, left, and Tom Arnold. Picture: Shelford Rugby Club. (39881542)

The Social Squadron is taking flight at the Davey Field.

Shelford Rugby Club have given a new look to their third, fourth and fifth teams, bringing them under the same banner for the first time.

Paul Gething and Damien Thomson have been appointed coaches as the club seeks to improve provisions for their social sides.

The idea was driven by the chair of the playing committee, Noel Woodgate, who went to the squads with the plans to seek their feedback.

“He got back from the players that they want to enjoy playing rugby for the club, but they can’t commit to the senior men’s programme with two nights a week training and gym sessions,” said Shelford director of rugby Will Cotterill.

“They want to enjoy their rugby, want to play a good game of rugby on a Saturday against good opposition so once we got that information from the playing group, we got a leadership programme group together.”

It included Cotterill, Woodgate, club captain Charlie Baker, the three team captains, and the new coaching staff.

Volunteers have also stepped forward to help organise training and match availability, and social events.

“It’s about saying we’re not three separate teams that operate autonomously under the banner of Shelford Rugby Club, we’re actually one pool of players that are available to play in matches at the weekend,” said Cotterill.

“For the players, it’s about playing rugby and the social aspect of coming to training once a week at best and seeing your friends, then going out on a Saturday in a game.

“The challenge is that we call it social rugby and that sometimes portrays that it’s not competitive.

“When they’re out on a Saturday afternoon, it is competitive, they do want to compete but they can only commit so much and they want to compete at a suitable level and that’s why we’ve got the teams. It’s to do with their physical capability, their age, their lifestyle outside rugby and how much they can commit.”

Gething was a groundsman at The Perse School, but also helped coach their rugby side, and he will oversee the Social Squadron training on a Wednesday night while taking the third XV on a matchday.

“He was keen to get involved with the club and it’s really exciting that we’ve got a very positive approach to taking on the third, fourths and fifths,” said Cotterill.

“There will be some movement between the first and second XV, but there will also be movement between the second and third XV, and the more you can link that up, the better quality rugby we’re going to get all the way through the club.”

Gething will be assisted by Thomson, who is also still a player.

The first social event for the group is a family day organised at the Davey Field this Saturday (August 8).

Cotterill added: “It just shows where Shelford is at as a club because the club is heavily invested in making sure that those players and that programme succeeds. It’s a bit like the investment we’re putting into the women’s and girls’ programme to make sure that programme grows and succeeds.

“It’s an important part of the wider club, it’s not all about the first XV.”

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