Since lockdown began, many clubs have found a variety of ways to keep in touch with their members. From Zoom meetings to phone calls from 1st team players, Sevenoaks Rugby have been leading the way with their own Podcasts.
In the latest instalment of their ‘Oh When The Oaks’ podcasts, Steve Fitzmaurice (SF) talks to Chairman Trevor Nicholson (TN) about lockdown and Bill Sweeney, the Chief Executive Officer of the RFU makes an appearance at their virtual Awards Night 2020.
We thought we’d listen in and give you some highlights of their chat and all things Rugby. The Podcast started with the pair talking about running the club at this extraordinary time.
SF: What’s your focus from a club perspective at this time?
TN: The first thing that everyone is thinking about is how to stay in business. Our main thing to consider from running the club is how are the finances, can we pay the bills and can we ask suppliers and landlords to be understanding at this time. Without going into too much detail, I’m pleased to say that this has been successfully boxed up, as well as receiving help in the form of a £25,000 grant from the government via the Town Council. We’re confident that we can tick-over for a good few months yet.
The other important part is keeping in touch with people, it’s very hard and everyone is used to going to the club at least a couple of times a week, and it’s an odd hole that everyone has to fill in their lives.
SF: We just recently had our first ever virtual awards weekend, how do you think that went?
TN: I think that the awards were the most exciting and uplifting weekend since this whole horrible business started. On the Friday night was the senior awards and then throughout the weekend there were a dozen different Zoom calls for the juniors which had 60 people on each and one of them. The Friday evening was exciting because we are developing a closer relationship with the RFU and we had Bill Sweeney, the Chief Executive in a Q&A session.
SF: We also made Ben Earl an Honorary Lifetime member of the club.
TN: We did! He is genuinely a Sevenoaks player born and bred. It’s the ultimate payoff really, if we can enjoy our rugby at local level as a community club and also produce someone who is good enough to play for England.
SF: I think that the RFU has come to appreciate community rugby more through this period than at any other time.
TN: I agree with you. They needed the driving force of Bill Sweeney at the top. He mentioned in his Q&A that there isn’t enough money in the game, and that they need to do something that makes a big difference.
SF: People have always regarded Sevenoaks Rugby Club to be a well run club. It’s all about the fun isn’t it? Fun is important!
TN: It really is, look at the new blood we have now with Adam Bowman taking over as Director of Rugby. A number of younger folks who just effortortlessly overlap and step into our shoes. I’d be delighted to just stand and shout at the Oaks without nothing else to think about.
All the ‘Oh When the Oaks’ Podcasts are available to listen to again at www.sevenoaksrugby.com/podcasts.