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autumn 2010

Chairman's Letter

Looking back, last season was definitely one of two halves. Up to Christmas we were promotion contenders playing confident open rugby under Coach Hugh Gumbs and his team. The festive season lay-off was then followed by a disruptive spell of snow and frozen pitches lasting several weeks. Too make matters worse, the re-start was marred by a spate of injuries to key players. On top of this, talented back James Keinhorst went off to Germany with our good wishes to play for Heidelberg in the German Premiership League in January.

The results suffered for two months and then we turned things round towards the end of the season and played some excellent rugby to reach the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Silver Trophy and the Aire/Wharfe Cup, where we narrowly lost in both games.

Teams in our Yorkshire League 3 have been increased from 12 to 14 next season so we are hoping we can avoid another bad winter, otherwise, our crowded fixture list could push matches further into May.

During last season Club members and the local community were saddened by the death of Club stalwart and Hon. Life Member Geoff Storr. Geoff was deeply involved in the Club as a player and then hard-working volunteer for over 60 years and will be sadly missed. Our thoughts go out to Marie and his family.

We look forward to the new season with optimism and with a warm welcome to our new Coach, Carlos Hassan. New Zealander Carlos comes with a wealth of experience under both codes having played league with Bradford Bulls and top-level union with Rotherham, Bristol, Sedgley Park and Bradford and Bingley.

My hopes for the season ahead are that we combine success and enjoyment both on and off the field. Like every other amateur club, we rely on a hard-working, cheerful band of volunteers and my thanks go out to all who help to keep the Club ticking over.

Pre-season training is going well under Carlos and I wish him, his coaching team, all players, our loyal band of volunteers and supporters a season of successful and enjoyable rugby.

John Harrison

Norman Coates' year as

Club member Norman Coates was Yorkshire President up to June this year and the following are extracts from his report to the County Committee at the end of his term in office:

"Since my appointment in June (2009), I have visited over fifty Clubs, albeit some more than once for different reasons. I realised early on that it was going to be a physical impossibility to visit all the Clubs in the county. To those that I failed to visit, my sincerest apologies and maybe as Past President, I shall be able to visit your Club next season.

My heartfelt thanks go out to County Office staff, especially Maureen who made me aware of where I had to be on a weekly basis and what kind of function I had to attend. Without her guidance I am sure things would have been much different.

Three visits stood out for me during the season. I was delighted to award the "Seal of Approval" to Pocklington Rugby Club. A big thank you to Acklam for their efforts in a sponsored coast-to-coast cycle ride and giving me the pleasant task of presenting a cheque for 10,000 to Breast Care. I was invited to Selby Rugby Club along with Richard Appleby, the next RFU President, for the unveiling of their fantastic new facilities.

Unfortunately I ruffled a few feathers at several dinners I attended with my stance on discipline, but these individuals were in the minority and many Club members appreciated what I was trying to put across to them.

In the County programme I made the point that I hoped we would have better results this season against our old adversary from over the Pennines, Lancashire. My wishes were fulfilled by the Senior side beating Lancashire at Huddersfield and the Under 20s claiming a win over the Red Rose county and then going on to beat Gloucestershire in the County Final at Twickenham.

I attended all our three domestic finals at the closing of the season and congratulations to Old Rishworthians as Trophy winners, Bridlington as Shield winners and Wharfedale, winners of the Cup. It gave me great pleasure in being able to present all three trophies.

Finally to all County members, Management and Council members, a big thank you to one and all from my wife Anne and myself for a most memorable season."

Norman tells me that his year involved travelling over 4, 000 miles and towards the end he lost count of the number of dinners of beef or steak pie!

President's Notes

Once again the new season is almost upon us and I am sure that everyone is looking forward to the new challenge which this will provide. The second team pitch has been levelled, re-laid and re-seeded and, together with that of the first team, looks in perfect condition. The "Monday Club" has been busy with the maintenance of the Clubhouse and changing rooms, underlying the excellent facilities which the Club provides for our players.

Training has already started and we welcome our new coach, Carlos Hassan. Our best wishes go to him and the members of the coaching team and of course to the new Captains, they will all need our total support in the season ahead.

Yorkshire League 3 will remain highly competitive for our first team and after a very successful season in Merit Table 3, the second team will hope to maintain this form. It is hoped that the third team will have a full programme and again provide enjoyable and entertaining rugby. Once again I must thank the band of former players who put in so much time and effort, not only throughout the season, but during the summer months to ensure that the Club runs smoothly. Not forgetting the "teas ladies" on match days, we appreciate their help and support - again many thanks.

Norman recently retired as President of Yorkshire Rugby Football Union, a busy twelve months in which he has been an excellent ambassador for our Club.

Finally, best wishes to the players in all three teams and I hope they will all enjoy their rugby and membership of our Club. At the same time realising that this involves our commitment to support the Club both socially and financially - the future of the Club does in fact depend on YOU!

George Leach

Former 'Ensian joins

Two seasons ago centre James Tincknell was the leading try-scorer with 'Ensians, having joined the Club when he moved from Cumbria to work alongside 'Ensians lock, Sam Gray.

Originally, James' number one sport was cricket where he played for Cumbria and joined MCC young cricketers. In 2008 he was actually the 12th man for England when they took on South Africa at Lords. Sadly, a back injury put James' cricketing career in doubt

Having done well at 'Ensians, he moved on to Wharfedale last season where he impressed enough to go on tour with the England Counties to Canada. At the same time he came to the notice of Leeds Carnegie scouts to earn a contract for the coming season.

As James trains hard for the new season with Leeds Carnegie, the good wishes of his former team-mates and all at 'Ensians go with him.


On Maundy Thursday, the traditional date for the Club's Annual Dinner, Club President George Leach welcomed 60 members and guests, including 36 players - another good turn out.

George was particularly pleased and proud to welcome Club and County stalwart Norman Coates in his Presidential year of office. Maunday Thursday is a popular evening for club dinners and Norman's attendance had been booked for over two years to ensure that he was able to attend his own Club's dinner. He entertained diners with the funny side of tales from his year of high office and his many years on the County Disciplinary Committee. He had been expecting to be able to comment on a trouble free year for the Club, but a recent incident had dashed his hopes. Being asked to appear before ex-County prop Rodney Childs and his colleagues was not a pleasant experience and he urged all players not get themselves on the invitation list.

In his review of the season, Club Coach Hugh Gumbs complimented the teams on their performances so far. Once again an excellent start for the 1st team up to Christmas had been followed by patchy performances in the New Year, which meant there was still work to do to ensure League safety. The worst Winter's weather for many years had made life difficult for players and administrators alike, most noticeably the 3rd team who had played only 2 games between 19th December and 27th March. The 2nd team had done well following promotion last season, winning 11 of 18 merit table games to date.

Elsewhere in this Newsletter, the records show how the full season ended.

Very funny comedian Lee Roberts rounded off the formal part of proceedings with some entertaining stories and banter.


Reg Marshall Trophy

   Steve Robinson

1 st XV Player of the Year

  James Duggan

2nd XV Player of the Year

   Richard Crossley and Sean Flesher

3rd XV Player of the Year

   Josh Howarth

Newcomer of the Year

   Sam Clewes

Young Player of the Year

   James Holland

Most Improved Player

   Ross Myers and Tom Twist

Student Player of the Year

   Richard Goakes


We are once more grateful to our Webmaster, Roy Appleyard, for continuing to maintain our website and also for the excellent action photos of the matches he provides throughout the season. He's there in all weathers with his impressive-looking camera capturing images of players in all teams.

If you haven't had a look at our Website recently, maybe now is the time to start. Reports of matches are often posted on the Sunday or Monday after the games along with top class action shots.

Roy reminds everyone that if they want anything on the Website, then stick it in email to him. This can be a photo, an ad for an event, a match report, whatever. If you've printed a poster and stuck it up around the Club, send Roy a copy by email as well.

If you don't do so already, now is the time to start logging on regularly to www.oorufc.co.uk and get news and match reports when the season starts on 4th September. Log on and keep in the know!


Last year it was reported that one of our top three projects had been completed - the car park extension; one was planned for this year - the 2nd team pitch levelling and the third, improved training lights, needed a bit of extra impetus.

Good progress can be reported. After some sterling work by Roger and his contractors, and a generous helping of good fortune from Mother Nature, the 2nd team pitch is dramatically better than it was this time last year. It's not billiard-table smooth, it was never going to be, but it is a lot flatter with a good crop of new sward. There is still work to be done on a small area where wet conditions made levelling difficult and in the battle against weeds. These will be addressed over the coming weeks and months.

So, two down and one to go - or maybe two to go.

Last November the floodlight project got the necessary kick start and the target timeframe was set as July/August 2010, subject to planning permission and the development and execution of an appropriate funding programme for the 35000 plus cost. August is now unlikely, because of delays in understanding how much power we have and how it might be up rated, but we are reasonably confident now that new match, not training, quality floodlights will be up and running before the dark training nights start. Thanks to John Harrison's efforts and generous contributions from members, local businesses and the RFU, we are hopeful that the majority of the costs will be covered. However, if you feel you would like to help, get in touch.

As hinted above, there maybe another project on the horizon. The container and garage are not big enough for our storage needs, especially as Roger's work for other clubs continues to grow. It's been suggested they might be replaced by a bigger, permanent concrete block building. Could you help get that project to fruition?

Last year's accounts showed a very small surplus. Subscriptions, donations, match receipts, bar, investment income and other income were all down, some like bar profits and investment income very significantly. The car park extension and pitch levelling projects have used up about 6000 of our savings and a worse than expected outcome of RFU funding for the floodlights may mean a further significant drain on reserves. Making 300 a year is not enough to service our ambitions.

What can we do about it? Lots. Support money raising efforts; organise a do, pay all your dues - on time; have that extra pint at the Club (but drive safely); suggest the innovative idea that generates more income or reduces costs - is there a more effective and efficient way to collect subs and match fees? Arbie knows one. Will you buy into it? Switch off unwanted lights and heaters.

Have a good 2010/11 GSL

Events 2009 -2010

The season's social calendar got underway in October when players from all teams got together for a lively night out in Halifax following the 1st XV's match against Rishworthians. The "Bollywood" theme was then the order of the day in November when Sam Gray organised a banquet of authentic Indian cuisine with excellent food provided by a Bradford restaurant.

Our resident quizmaster, Norman Coates, found time from his Yorkshire Presidential duties to organise one of his popular quizzes in November to provide the usual entertaining evening. In December, the girls from Old Otliensians Hockey Club joined forces for the traditional "pound-a-pint" night when Joy Marsden, Maggie Simpson and helpers laid on a huge supply of chilli to go with the beer and games.

There was again a good attendance at John Churchman's annual former players' lunch before a League match in April and we were pleased that several of our match sponsors were able to join us. Our resident caterer, Alistair Hoyle, laid on the food. For their post-Christmas "away trip", the players set off in minibuses to sample the delights of the hostelries in Wakefield.

Again the Club hosted a social evening in April for the volunteers who help run the Club to thank them for their hard work over the year. A buffet and wine were provided and President George Leach paid tribute to the hard work they had all put in over the past year without which the Club would struggle to survive.

Events 2010 - 2011

Alyson Smith has once more stepped in to oversee the social calendar for next season. Another "Bollywood" evening and a "night at the races" are some of the events being considered along with such things as get-togethers with the Hockey Club and Norman's quizzes.

75th AGM

President George Leach opened by congratulating Norman Coates on the way he had performed his duties as Yorkshire President during the previous year, visiting numerous Clubs throughout Yorkshire and being a tremendous ambassador for Old Otliensians. George also referred to the past season which started off very well and then tailed off after the long cold spell when our promotion chances slipped away when several key players were injured. However, our 2nd XV performed well to come 4th in the Yorkshire 3 Merit and the 3rd XV had a good season. He also thanked the former players and all volunteers for their sterling work during the season.

In presenting the Fixture Secretary's report, John Churchman said that from his point of view, it had been long and hard work at times, but pretty successful despite the weather. He thanked Roger Whitworth and Dave Beardsley in particular for the help they had given him during the season along with Coach, Hugh Gumbs. The 1st XV experienced an "up and down" season, being at the top of the League around Christmas and then dropping down to finish 7th after injuries, postponed fixtures and a mass of matches at the end of the season. The team had then competed well to reach to reach the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Silver Trophy and the Aire/Wharfe Cup.

The 2nd XV, newly promoted into Yorkshire 3 Merit Table, had done well to achieve 4th place. The 3rd XV's season had been curtailed by the poor weather and cancellation of fixtures both by the opposition and ourselves, nevertheless, they had played entertaining rugby to win 8 of their 12 games.

Presenting the Secretary's report on behalf of Tom Broadbent who is standing down, Assistant Secretary Dave Beardsley reported that the Club had had a mixed season on the pitch with all three teams being affected by injuries and by the long spell of freezing weather. Despite this, the 1st XV finished mid-table in Yorkshire League 3 and the 2nd and 3rd XVs had had successful seasons. (Full details of points and scorers are set out separately in this Newsletter.)

Presenting the accounts, Treasurer Gordon Longfellow reported a modest surplus of 392 for the year. Gordon re-iterated that success on the field reflects directly on the bottom line and match cancellations due to the cold spell also had an adverse effect. Compared with the previous year, income was down by over 7,000 - a large amount for our Club. He also made reference to the very significant contribution to Club finances from Groundsman Roger Whitworth through the work he does for other Clubs. Without his contribution in this and previous years, the Club would struggle to make ends meet. Gordon concluded by thanking the large team of people who provide him with help and support in many ways to keep Club finances heading in the right direction.

In proposing that the comprehensive report be accepted, Chairman John Harrison thanked Gordon for the work he puts in as Treasurer and also for the many other jobs he carries out on behalf of the Club.

Election of honorary officials: President - George Leach, Secretary -To be appointed, Asst. Secretary - Dave Beardsley, Treasurer - Gordon Longfellow, Asst. Treasurer - Brian Webster, Fixture & Match Secretary - John Churchman, Team Secretary - Roger Whitworth, Social Co-ordinator - Alyson Smith, Committee: Rob Arbuckle, Richard Crossley, Philip Drake, Derek Mott, John Ratahi, Steve Robinson and Peter Tempest. At a subsequent Committee meeting John Harrison was re-elected Chairman.

FOR THE 2009/2010 SEASON

  P W D L F A
1st XV 28 14 0 14 552 613
2nd XV 23 14 0 9 623 492
3rd XV 12 8 0 4 351 202


1ST XV MOST POINTS - Will Foster - 107 from 6 tries, 22 conversions & 11 penalties.

LEADING TRY-SCORERS: James Holland 15, James Duggan 8, Richard Goakes 8 and Rob Arbuckle 6

2ND XV MOST POINTS - Matt Tenniswood - 123 from 3 tries, 39 conversions and 10 penalties.

LEADING TRY-SCORERS: Liam Copping 11, Dale Kennedy 8, Steve Grundy 7 & Das Cooley 6.

3RD XV MOST POINTS - Steve Grundy - 40 from 8 tries

LEADING TRY-SCORERS: Steve Grundy 8, Graham Bentley 7 and Dave Smith 4.

In his report, Fixture Secretary John Churchman commented on the number of matches postponed due to frozen pitches both home and away which meant that the 1st XV was faced with playing 7 matches in 24 days in April.

The 1 st XV finished in 7th position in Yorkshire League 3 and the 2nd XV, having been promoted to the Yorkshire 3 Merit Table, finished a commendable 4th.

Membership Subscriptions and Match Fees

Never popular subjects, but the revenue from these two areas makes a big difference to our Club finances. For the second year in succession the amount of subscriptions we collected in was less than the year before and this is due mainly to a minority of players failing to come up with the money. We shall be chasing arrears this season! On the plus side, the weekly Match Fees were only just down on the previous year despite many games being cancelled due to bad weather. The new arrangement to collect Match Fees before the game seemed to bring in more money and fewer players fell into arrears.

All the money we raise through subscriptions, match fees, bar profits, etc. is ploughed back into the playing side of our Club and in the coming season we face a massive bill for state-of-the-art floodlights. If people don't pay or are slow to pay, it causes extra work for our volunteers and adds to expense due to written reminders and 'phone calls.

This season we will be exploring alternative ways of collecting subs and Match Fees, possibly by combining both and using a standing order to spread the load. It's best if you can pay at one go, but we accept instalments if they clear the amount due quickly.

Don't forget we run a hassle-free annual standing order scheme which saves you money because your subs are fixed for 5 years. Details from Gordon Longfellow, John Harrison or Keith Butterill. SIGN A FORM AND SAVE AROUND 10!

John Harrison

Helping to run our Club

The comments from our President, George Leach, earlier in this Newsletter and the other articles setting out what went on both on and off the field demonstrate that our Club survives and succeeds because of a band of dedicated volunteers.

However, we still need more helpers in such areas as helping behind the bar for an hour or two, serving players' teas, supporting our teams at home and away, etc.


TEL: 01943 465450 or john.harrison@freeuk.com

Editor's Note: Finally, many thanks to all those who contributed to the Newsletter. John H