We’ve had a fantastic year that exceeded everyone’s expectations both on and off the pitch. The year started with an immediate bang when 70 of us marched through the streets of London as part of London Pride. We then moved swiftly on to TMB 2022, where we won the Club’s first (and not last) silverware. This was a tremendous achievement and shows how far we have come as a team over the past few years. We then hosted the second Pride 7s tournament which was another great success.
We have had remarkable success in both union and touch over the past 12 months or so. Union came a brilliant second place in the 2022/23 league and were unfortunate to not be able to compete against Bristol again for the overall win, but they did go out and smash Hull Roundheads in the national final, bringing the season to a brilliant close. Other successes include Unity Cup in November, when with the exception of the final, the team won every game they played. This alone shows how far we have come when playing Union.
Equally, in the touch team, the improvement has been astronomical and is a testament to everyone involved. We entered the Clapham Winter League for the first time which gave our players the chance to get some extra game and training time. We’re now competing in the IGR summer series for the second time and are seeing a huge improvement in performance compared to last year.
Away from the pitch we’ve made progress in several other areas. We’ve started new relationships with LGBT+ venues in South London, hosting social events at both The Bridge and the iconic RVT as well as the Two Brewers. The Stags brand has continued to grow and our reach on social media has expanded, evidenced up by the excellent turnout at our new member events.
We’ve also taken important steps to improve player welfare, training up more First Aiders and putting in place a formal process to manage player concussions to ensure safe return to the pitch. All of this has only been possible due to the hard work of the committee over the past year, and I’d like to pay a particular thank you to all of them for their tireless efforts.
And we didn’t just win awards on the pitch. The Stags won the Out for Sport Award for ‘Emerging Club of the Year’, highlighting the progress we have made over the past four years as a Club.
Despite all things, the most important initiative and cause we fought for this year was for trans inclusion. Whilst the current RFU position remains wrong and a stain on the sport we love, we still believe that in the longer term we will be able to overturn their position and make our sport truly inclusive to all. On a positive side for the Club, by far the most important award that we won this year was for Trans Inclusion at Hadrians Cup. Whilst we absolutely have more to do, The Stags continues to stand for inclusive rugby for EVERYONE
Thank you and here’s to the future success of the Stags.