So Canterbury came out on top in a closely fought battle with Burn to head the Division 2 Super Series 2 weekend. Steve Brown, taking a break from presenting his feature on BBC’s ‘The One Show’, led his team to a 43-41 victory against Burn, now coached by recently retired GB veteran Alan Ash. The league continues to see a big upward trend in the quality of competition with some very close results. Another GB athlete who has just retired is also making an impact following his move into coaching – Mike Kerr is now a player/coach with Crushers where he helped the team improve game on game to end the weekend with a one goal win over Liverpool RGC. I’m told their wild celebrations on doing so were akin to winning the Scottish Cup!
Away from the fun and action of the Super Series it has been another busy week getting ready for our meeting with the UK Sport Board next Tuesday. Performance Director Lorraine Brown, Head Coach Paul Shaw, and Professor Vicky Tolfrey from the Peter Harrison Centre, will join me as we present our representation against the decision not to fund us for the Tokyo cycle. Along with support from Tim Reid at Hogan Lovells we have worked really hard on this case and hope that the board will have an open mind, give us a fair hearing and be convinced by our case. Meanwhile there remains a great deal of public and media interest in our situation. This week I have given interviews with BBC Sport, the Daily Mirror and The Independent. By now you will have seen Mike Brown’s interview with Alex Spink of the Mirror, as Mike continues to battle in support of us. He has been joined by many of the England team who have gone on to Twitter to show their support, so a big thank you to them. Mike has been joined by former Wales scrum half Rupert Moon who is promoting our case in Wales and is equally vocal in expressing his dismay at the decision. Watch the news after the weekend as I am sure there will be interest in next week’s UK Sport meetings. With all this going on our list of those who are registering their support continues to grow. Can I remind you to get anyone and everyone you meet to go onto the website and sign up. If you all set yourselves a target of getting 20 people you know to sign that would be great.
The Board of Trustees came together for a full day on Tuesday to discuss the future of the sport and to look at the risks we face and to discuss our options for dealing with them. It was a good day and an important one to reflect on the many positives we also have to look forward to – especially the investment we have been successful in getting from Sport England to further develop the game. Some of this will be going into increasing our number of RDOs so that we can provide better support to our clubs. We will also be investing more in our youth and the roll out of the variant game so that we can offer the sport to other disability groups. Suzy Christopher, who is Head of Charities at BT was co-opted onto the board this week. Suzy has supported us for a long time and was key to us achieving the partnership with BT. Some of you will remember her from when she presented the trophies and medals at the BT National Championships in 2015. She will add valuable skills to our board, and in particular her knowledge of operating in the commercial world, along with her background in sports sponsorship and the charitable sector, will really add to what is already a strong set of skills on the board. I hope to be able to present her to the Membership for election as a Trustee at the AGM which this year will be in the autumn.
Finally thank you to everyone who is making the Super Series happen especially our volunteers in the clubs and in support of the GBWR organising team. Thank you also to Roma Sports and to BT for sponsoring the events. They really go from strength to strength each year and provide high quality competition whatever league you play in. And as the six nations kick off we wish all teams the very best of luck and we especially send our good wishes to our ambassador Mike Brown.