Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Simon Hill : Letchworth Girls coach 2007/8

Just over 13 months ago, the girls at Letchworth Garden City RFC were introduced to their new coach for the 2007/8 season : Simon Hill. It was quite a day for everyone - not least because we all had to get to know the whole new language of Quasi-English (or Kiwi, for short). In the early days it was not unusual to see a training session grind to a halt when Simon called out a fresh instruction (at least for long enough for the girls to get an explanation of what he'd meant). It also took a while for Simon's more abrupt style of language ("... if you do that again I'm going to kick your arse!") to be fully appreciated. Like most significant changes, it takes a time to understand how things are going to turn out .....

Simon continued the inclusive approach of previous coaches Joe and John to make sure that all of our players get as much match time as possible while taking part in as many tournaments as we can and striving to do well in them. Individually, taking part remained the main ethos with the team striving to improve their performance collectively. In doing this Simon involved several first team players in coming to the girls training sessions to help them improve specific aspects of their play and this has had a major influence not only on the standard of play but also in building friendships across the club which is fantastic for the girls teams. The results certainly reflected the 'team performance' approach with the majority of good performances coming toward the end of the season. Overall, it was a mixed bag of victories and defeats (played 38, won 17, drew 3, lost 18) but there was a collection of good results in the major tournaments and the occasional trophy along the way :

RFUW Divisional 10s : 2nd
RFUW National 10s : 4th
RFUW London and South-East 7s : Plate runners-up
RFUW Herts 7s : 2nd
RFUW National 7s : 5th=

So, on the field, we saw the team working together better and better as the season went on. Meanwhile, off the field, Simon continued to impress with his vast array of special talents ..... for example, at the Awards evening, he showed himself to be the smooth, cultured chap we'd always suspected (you can see how pleased Wonky was by his expression) :

and who could forget the end of season party? Not just for the sartorial ellegance that threatened to overwhelm us all but mainly for the Haka that Simon and Mike performed ...

Quite a season ... but it doesn't end there. Simon is, we now know, always looking at the world and seeing how it could all be so much better so he is never short of ideas on what to do next. It's also just possible that a few people may have noticed that Simon has an occasional tendency to tell them in, shall we say, a forthright way if he thinks they are not getting things right! His attitude may well be summed up as "People do stupid things because they don't realise what a bad thing it is to do (in which case someone needs to tell them) or because they don't care (in which case someone needs to tell them that they ought to care)" Not that I've ever been known to have an attitude like Simon's, of course. Not me .......... well, not this week. So far ........

Anyway, Simon certainly 'got on with the job' himself : he coached the North Herts Tag rugby team for the Hertfordshire Youth Games, he provided coaching for secondary school girls in Letchworth and Stevenage, he organised a Tug'o'War team -

- and a touch rugby demonstation at Rhythms of the World -

- and he devised, organised and ran the Letchworth Schools Tag Rugby tournament which involved over 500 9-11 year old girls and boys at 6 different schools being trained and culminated in a 4 group, 28 team tournament at the Letchworth club in July. The feedback from all of these events has been great - the students, teachers, parents and sponsors have all let us know how successful they felt the events had been.

Of course, as it was the last event he was to be involved in this season, Simon also received a few gifts - a Wasps shirt and a Saracens shirt from the girls section and a bottle of something interesting from Katie who is similarly leaving the girls team this summer (in her case due to old age i.e. she's 18!)

So how do I sum up Simon? In Simon I see what I should have been more like when I was younger (... er, quite a lot younger in fact). I suppose I'd sum him up by saying that he is fun, honest, caring, generous, charismatic as well as being a complete looney ..... oh heck, he's just a really good bloke and the best mate you can have.

Today, Wednesday, I took Simon and Kirsten to Heathrow airport to catch their flight back to New Zealand. I'm really going to miss them. Fortunately, I won't have to miss out on the infamous text messages - I get more messages from Simon than from everyone else put together - and I'm hopeful that, eventually, I'll be able to understand one.

To Simon and Kirsten, I say "Thanks for everything you've done for us this year" and "Good luck" in everything you do in the future. I really hope that we will see you back in the UK before too long for there are many, many people who will miss you. Otherwise, we'll be coming out to Christchurch to find you!

1 comment:

  1. Marshy Dorter9:46 PM

    Is wonky drunk?


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