President Neil Moffats summary of the year

Hello and thank you all for coming to our 2023 Annual General Meeting. The past year has seen an action-packed season on and off the pitch.

On the Pitch the 1st 15 finished 6th in West 1. West 1 is a very competitive league with those who make promotion rarely come back down, holding their own in the National leagues. Also losing to East Kilbride in the second round of the shield who went all the way to the final.

2nd 15 played 11 matches in West Reserve Division 2 and friendly fixtures, ending in a great win against Cambuslang. Well done to AJ, Josh, Ryan, Ben Conroy for continuously rallying the troops together and ensuring we fielded two teams. We are aware of the challenge in getting home games for the 2nd 15 and is something we and the SRU is trying to find a long-term solution for, our team’s commitment to cross the town bridge is something to be proud of.

Thanks to Logan Johnson for his efforts with the second team, his ability to get a street dweller onto a rugby pitch is quite remarkable. Goggs has passed on the head coach reigns after what has been a very difficult few seasons battling the pandemic and a change in squad. Thank you for your efforts and I know you will still be heavily involved in one way or another.

The Warriors finished a respectable 4th in West 1 and made it to the semifinal of the National plate competition. Similar to the men’s they have fielded a largely inexperienced, varied squad but still had some great wins. Thanks to Colin and Tracey for their tireless work with women’s rugby.

With 39 players turning out for the 1st XV, 40 for the Warriors and an estimated additional 20-25 players turning out for the 2nd XV as a senior section we have fielded over 100 players last season. This show that it is not a lack of bodies playing the game but a lack of consistency and routine.

I’m sure the fresh input from newly appointed Juan Phyfer as men’s head coach will inspire the next generation. I would like to welcome Juan to Annan rugby and wish him all the best on the start of his coaching journey.

Congratulations for Zoe Mitchell and Niamh Ross in being selected for the Scotland U18 7s team who head to Prague later this week to play in the international 7’s competition.  The club wishes you all the very best of luck.

Well done to Rohan Cother for being selected for the Glasgow and the South U16 team. Also, Megan Hutchison who was selected for the U16 Futures squad, Zoe and Niamh at U18 and Ellie Henderson at U20. Great achievements.

Nicole deservedly won regional league player of the year from the SRU based on consistency in gaining player of the match. Well done.

Off the park it has been very busy with the erection of a play park lead by Lindsey and Craig Johnson. This asset, cements the club’s ethos of inclusion and has been well received by our members.

Billy Henderson led a huge fundraising campaign for Doddie Foundation raising a staggering £42K. Well done.

Bank Street has been used more this past year which is good to see, however this trend must continue to subsidise its own maintenance and running costs as well as rugby. Thank you to Gemma who has managed the facility the last year and is stepping down.

As the majority of you will know our long-term goal is to extend the pavilion here at Violetbank to include more changing rooms, kit storage and a first-floor hospitality area. Over the past 6 months the club has invested in a feasibility study along with the support of Cunningham Homes. This is to prove and document the need for the facility as well as a draft design and budget cost. This has still to be to finalised with the hope to go to planning and major funder within the next 12 months. This would be a major capital investment by ourselves and a number of funders but we are confident it will provide long term benefits for the club.

I would like to thank Marion and Megan for their professional physio work, the ‘grubber’ volunteers especially Heather who is stepping away from the managerial role. Grounds maintenance, all coaches, team managers and of course players who without everyone’s commitment the cogs simply wouldn’t turn.

Also, all the club sponsors, especially, H&I Engineering, Annandale Distillery and St James Smokehouse for their continued support.

This year was also met with some sadness with the passing of past club president, Don Barty.

Lastly thank you to Gary Coupland for his 8-year tenure of the club, to look back over his term at the increase in playing numbers, club culture and financial state it certainly has been a successful one. This was acknowledged by the Scottish Rugby when he won the Adam Gray award for outstanding contribution to rugby.

With Nicole doing her job well and increasing our playing numbers across all youth sections next season will have the same challenges of facilitating and financing a rugby club.  Bazz will talk further about this. The difficult decision was made to increase memberships to help balance the increase in running costs, however comparing the cost of other clubs in the town and other rugby clubs we still offer a value for money subscription with transport to games, physio and in house flood lit training all included.

This ship doesn’t steer itself so if any of you have a skill or time you can spare any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You

Neil Moffat



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