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Chairman's Message

Published - 29 September 2020

Firstly, an apology that this year my communication to club members, supporters and sponsors is so late in arriving with you. Fundamentally, with the ever-changing Government advice and medical landscape, it has taken until now to develop some level of confidence in our plans for season 2020/21. Hopefully, you will understand and empathise.

In this context, it has been very difficult to predict what would emerge from the SRU on the fixture side and to set budgets accordingly. This said, we have already incurred costs and will continue to do so, whether we play or not. It is critical that Aberdeen Grammar Rugby survives this crisis in a fit state to recommence in the future as the North-East’s Premier Club continuing a fine competitive tradition. Accordingly, we are asking all our followers to dig deep and contribute to the coffers, fully realising this is a big ask with so little rugby action available, so many restrictions currently in place and personal economic challenges.

Despite these obvious issues, greetings and I hope this letter and accompanying documents find you well and coping in the very strange environment through which we are passing. Like every part of society, the Club has had to adapt to the various measures imposed by the Government and we remain unsure of what lies ahead between now and May 2021.

Within this pack are your membership forms and player sponsorship form.  Anyone making a donation, or paying a membership fee, will receive their membership card for the season, which allows them access to home games throughout the season (when permitted) and access to the Club Centre. We currently face a minimum reduction in SRU grant funding of 32%, which may be further reduced to zero funding, if there are no spectators allowed in grounds during the 6 Nations and the Union’s income drops substantially as a result.

We live in a time of great uncertainty and I have endeavoured to highlight the known position regarding Rugby for the season ahead.

FIXTURES: 1stXV home games will be played at Rubislaw, commencing on 31 October 2020 when we host Dundee High Rugby in the blended Premiership/Nat 1 stage of the season-long cup competition (and for the Dally Allardice Trophy). 2nd XV play in the Caledonia 2 competition. Fixture Lists for 1st and 2nd XVs will be on Scottish Rugby Union and Aberdeen Grammar Rugby websites (www.scottishrugby.org/fixtures-and-results/club-rugby/www.aberdeenrugby.org.uk).

CLUB CENTRE: will be open throughout the season with home matches being streamed on You Tube and screened in the Club Centre (subject to prevailing social distancing restrictions) and accessible on the internet from other remote locations.

COACHING TEAM: Led by Ali O’Connor, assisted by Iain Stanger, Eric Strachan, Duncan Massey, Greig Ryan and Rod Aspe (Strength & Conditioning)

MATCH DAY STAFF: Medical support continues with Dr Louise McCullough, assisted by Keith Raymond and his team of physios.  John Stewart has been appointed Team Manager.

TRAINING/SQUAD: Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Rubislaw has been inaccessible (until 1/10/20) and training has been at Sheddocksley , including the mini and midi sections. The senior playing squad currently numbers approximately 65 and sessions have been well attended with a number of new faces, giving us better depth for both first and second XV’s.

NEW PRESIDENT: Colin Neilson was elected Honorary Club President at the AGM in July. Thanks to Jim Rae for his service during his second stint in the role.

INTERNATIONAL TICKETS: Due to Covid-19, we will have no access to International tickets this season, as it is highly unlikely there will be spectators permitted.  Even if some are allowed, the numbers will be seriously restricted, the SRU proposing a ballot system.

SPECTATING: At the time of writing, it is still not clear if spectators will be permitted at our matches, although this should be clarified by 31 October.  There is ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government and we are hopeful that this matter will be resolved imminently.  The streaming of the matches to the Club Centre is being planned as a fall-back, in case the current ban remains in force. Screening on You Tube will also facilitate remote viewing.

SPONSORSHIP: has been difficult this season, due to the economic climate, lack of access to international tickets and the restricted use of the Club Centre, due to Covid-19 measures preventing us from hosting pre-match corporate hospitality. However, we are delighted that The TAC Healthcare Group has stepped up its support with a new two-year shirt sponsorship deal. Thanks. Obviously, we would welcome any philanthropic corporate contributions and/or sponsorships to tide us through the season, particularly as SRU funding may be withdrawn.

So, now you are as well informed as your hard-working Committee, which has continued to meet throughout the past few months, albeit on internet conference calls. There has been much to discuss, as the context has been constantly changing. I am confident this great Club can survive and flourish with your continued enthusiasm and support.

As always, I look forward to catching-up with you over the season, whatever it may end-up looking like.  Anyone wishing to discuss the Club or looking to support our activities can contact me on g.thomson.t21@btinternet.com or M.07718 905003  W. 01224 636002.

Gordon Thomson

Chairman & Director of Rugby

Aberdeen Grammar Rugby

2020-21 Membership Form: Adult Membership Form

Player Sponsorship Form: Player Sponsorship Form

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