Well here goes .........
......... not the xmas message I had planned for our year at Heath in 2020.
So, let us review the year, or season, before our lives got taken over by Covid last March.
Up to that point, the 1st team and 2nd team were sitting pretty in there respective league tables. But when cessation hit us, our the final league positions were worked out on a percentage basis - meaning that our 1st team were promoted to the highest level since the club was formed in 1928 and will be eventually playing in North1 East in Sep 2021.
Our 2nd team also gained promotion in the Yorkshire Merit Leagues! Unfortunately, this has been somewhat overlooked, but, for Heath Rugby Club it is a massive achievement on every level and one that I'm immensely proud to be part of.
Also, we put the 3rd team out for 6 games so the whole Club is in great shape both on and off the field.
There's more - let's not to forget the Junior Section going from strength to strength, now with the prospect of 5 junior teams turning out in Heath Colours in the 2021 /22 season.
I would like to personally thank all involved in making all the above happen at our great Club.
Since the lockdown, we have taken some tough decisions on the financial side of things, with no money coming in - but with pitches to maintain and a Clubhouse to keep up to date (and ready for when could re-open). We decorated the lounge and fit the new flooring to the entrance lobby after the floods wiped us out even before Covid struck. We did lots of general maintenance around the ground, including preparing a new play area and playground for the kids. This is situated by the scoreboard.
We are currently waiting on new flood doors to be fitted as external, downstairs doors. Being able to do this is mainly due to donations from Heath Old Boys Association and Lloyds Banking Group and, actually, several other organisations who helped us out with 'flood resilance grants'.
'Thank you' to all involved for pursuing and driving ahead with obtaining these grants.
So, 4 months of trading from July to Nov were very different for us! With Calderdale in Level 2 for most of this, we turned the Club into a restaurant - with Mexican nights, Curry nights, Greek meze and Spanish tapas nights, Steak nights and the very popular Sunday lunches. All these allowed us to meet our friends and bring some kind of normality back to the Club. Infact, these were supported so well by members, with everyone of the meals fully booked, it is something that we will carry on post Covid.
A big thank you to Mr Mousaka and also to our in-house Chef, Trev' - for their hard work, some great nights and great food!
With the early November 2nd-lockdown (Calderdale in tier 3) we were forced to close our doors again. And we will stay closed till mid to late Jan, at this rate!
On the field, one good thing in recent times, was being able to get the lads back training and playing a few games of 10s to keep them active. Though the last few months were really tough on the guys and very frustrating for the Coaches - with the Covid rules re what you can and can't do, with risk assessments needed for training and the Covid checks to be done!
So, I would like to personally thank Dan Cole for bringing the whole thing together, getting The Club Covid measures in place in order to make the lads feel safe at training.
I would also like to thank Harry & Mark plus the rest of the Coaching Team for there patience in these unprecedented times. It's hard to plan sessions with Covid restrictions! So, cheers guys!
Looking forward, with the new 'Cluster League' on the horizon in January, there may be some rugby late that month - just depending on where we are with the Virus. Let's see.
To round off, it's been so tough on so many people who've not been able to go about their daily life with any sort of normality. We may have lost loved ones and no-one will have been unaffected in some way, by Covid. Now's the time, more than ever, that we stay strong. It's what the Heath Rugby 'family' is so good at - when the going gets tough.
The Club, like a Rock, will still be there in 2021. Make sure you are as well - by staying safe. We can and will get back to what we all enjoy; watching rugby and socializing at the best club in Calderdale.
Here is wishing all Heath and Stainland lions members, the best possible Xmas you can have (under the circumstances).
Stay safe guys and girls - see you all soon.
One very proud chairman
PS: on a personal note and it's something I have not mentioned above, I would like to thank our amazing team of girls who, all through lockdown, have gone 'above and beyond' to keep the Club going. With all the Covid measures in place, with the table service and the wearing of masks, it was tough. But, I think we all will agree, they were all totally amazing. So Ruby, Elle, Billie, Carla, Lucy and Louisa thank you so very much. Have a great Xmas and see you all back soon. Sprog xx