Enjoyment is still key but OGs are now much more focused

Gary Chambers
Gary Chambers

For a few seasons league rugby became something unwanted at the Old Grammarians.

The club opted out of the Midlands Leagues and took to playing more social rugby instead.

But last year they decided it was time to return and now, another year on, there is more steely approach to the game at the Memorial Sports Ground.

Enjoyment is still key – but so is winning.

“Our primary aim is growing as a club,” explained coach Gary Chambers.

“We’ve got a very strong ‘twos’ now and we had our first Vets match for many, many years a couple of weeks ago.

“When we dropped out of the leagues for a few seasons we decided it was to play social rugby.

“It’s a lot more serious than that now. We still want to create that enjoyable, friendly atmosphere.

“We’re a small club and we want to have the close-knit feel. If it’s an enjoyable environment and a place you want to play rugby then I believe you are more likely to train and more likely to be available.

“But also our approach to the rugby is a lot more professional now. It’s taken a lot more seriously.

“We had a great pre-season when we were keen to get some new players into the club – not just because of playing strength but also to boost player numbers.

“We had a BBOBs side over here and we beat them fairly comfortably.

“I guess the long-term aim is to grow as a club, play some good rugby and have a good season.”

As to how good that season can be? Chambers is not ruling out a tilt at promotion.

“Bedford Queens are by the far the best side in this league and they will win it, I’m sure of that,” he stated.

But I think we are one of the three or four sides who could be up there challenging.

“Last season was our first one back in the leagues and we finished sixth. We were quite happy with that.

“But we now think we can go on from there.

“We’ve got a lot more competition for the shirts now and players who have been OGs for a while are now thinking ‘am I bench player rather than a starter?’.

“There have been a few selection headaches – even though we’ve been hit by injuries so far.

“We had eight missing for the trip to Queens and six for the Sileby match but we still took a full squad.

“We’ve also got some who work shifts which is hard but we’ve picked up two good home wins and can hopefully get another one this weekend.”