HRFC addresses controversy over lack of public celebration for Twickenham win

By Hannah Corfield

17th Sep 2021 | Opinion

Woz on. It has been a bit of a quiet week at Tonsville, well that's if you don't count the odd planning meeting or talking to Environmental health officers about arranging yet another date for a "dog mess" conflab, oh joy!

We had a great day at the club on Sunday as it was junior presentations day. It was great to see a whole army of junior players and their families down to watch everyone collect their trophies.

Paula, who works at the Met Office, had once again ordered it not to rain which meant the main event was held outside the front of the club and it was great to see each age group talked about with such passion by their coaches and Will Goulden the club's skipper handed out the awards.

He was ably assisted by Brendon, the first team manager, and Bill Baily was also on hand to show off the Twickers medals. Will also gave a speech and a bit of an insight into the journey to get the club to Twickers and linked the fact he started his playing days as a junior back at his club in Ireland. He thanked everyone who had gone up to support us and made the day so special and he finished by telling the kids, "if you dream big and work hard, big things can happen".

Huge thanks must go to Paula Briar and Tom Hattan for all their hard work in organising everything so well and in addition to their efforts, big thanks must also go to the volunteers who manned the kitchen, BBQ and the bar.

So naming but a few Alex, Clare, Angie, Darren, Ness, Vicki, Helen, Jessica, Charlotte, Izzy, Stops, Justin, Will, Brendon and Matt, thanks for helping out on the day. I'm sure to have missed someone but all the support made it a great day and there are some great pictures on the parents' face ache page. Great advert for the sport and it was all positive news for our yuff!

We've all come down from the big Twickers day now but there has been one niggling thing. I have been contacted by several people, asking about what was being done as a sort of celebration for what the players had achieved for the town.

Personally, I've found this quite difficult as I just don't see it as something the club should have had to organise for itself and when you think about it, if we stood up and said "look at us, we've organised this thing to tell you how marvellous we are," some of our players, I'm sure, would cringe at that idea.

Self-praise just never seems right and can be equally cringe worthy for those looking in on us. It would have been whole different story if something had been done for the players from an outside body… like er… maybe our town council or EDDC? If something had been planned, I'm sure it would have been well received by all and would have been a chance to celebrate the town in a positive light.

The magnitude of the achievement for a tiny town such as ours was nothing short of a miracle and many in our town knew this and when all said is and done, our players, coaches and back of house crews managed to mobilise an army of some 600 good townsfolk to go up to Twickenham to support the town and there was a real positive buzz about the town.

We at the club really did feel as if we had a huge amount of backing from individuals and local business which was very humbling and if you saw the telly and listened to the radio and saw the number of hits on the RFU videos, it really did go a long way to putting the town on the map and showcased what little old Honiton can produce, a real "David and Goliath" story.

So to my gripe, we basically haven't had any response from anyone official in the town, not even a simple "well done, you have done the town proud".

I know several people from the town did actually contact the town council asking what could be done to celebrate this achievement. It's just a bit sad that they were actually having to contact them in the first place to ask the question and yet despite this, nothing happened.

Frankly, I feel it's all a bit too late to do anything now and as I've said above, it wasn't really our place to ask anyway. Surely those running the town knew what was going on or maybe they didn't? Or maybe it's because it's that unimportant thing called sport again?

As Mr "slightly miffed" from Tonsville, I'm reminded of all the stops that were pulled out when Camilla and Charlie just happened on the town last summer.

Free car parks, free park and ride buses, high street closed and several councillors out in force. I must say it was all done very well, to give credit where credit is due and it goes to prove they can do things well and also spend money.

Of course it's not the same I know. Then on top of that I was watching the news and saw a certain football team called Man City on a bus being paraded around their city streets and all because they had achieved some sort of sporting thing, I think it was the "treble" wasn't it?

The commentator actually said "the council has done them proud with the organisation of this procession". Well didn't we just do a "treble" and we only have one street! Maybe doing a bus thing here in Honkington would be a bit OTT but a "well done" letter would have been nice, I guess?! Hey ho!

Sport is a big part of any town/community life and is an essential element for the well-being of its people. We have lots of different clubs in the town who are all run by some pretty good volunteers.

From my point of view, these clubs do work together and respect each other's efforts but one overriding similarity for all of these clubs/organisations is, they do a lot to encourage kids/adults to play sport, keep fit and stay out of trouble, which in turn goes towards making them confident individuals who are then an asset to their town.

For me, it just always seems to be a constant battle to get any meaningful support from anyone and that's just to survive. We all understand austerity and budget constraints but surely just a little acknowledgement that any of the clubs are doing good things for the town wouldn't go a miss, especially if one of them does something incredible.

Crikey that was a bit of a moan…sorry council… just voicing what people have been saying to me. So let's move on, quickly, to some positives and I will mention this Saturday again.

It's the big charity day at club and we would like the community to come along too. It's been organised by Knocker, Paul Blackmore, Alex, Welchy and the McGrath's.

As I've mentioned before it is in aid of two ex-forces charities called Icarus and VUAS. It promises to be a good day and it looks like it will be dry which is great, thanks Paula.

There's a mini beer festival and an outside bar, two games of fun rugby (bring your boots if you wanna run around) and a crèche type thing for kids who want to learn/improve rugby skills.

A band will be playing into the evening and there's a BBQ, a raffle and several stalls as well. So why not bring a rug to sit on, chillax and "come on down" to enjoy the fun, for those who were worried about not seeing the Chiefs' game, we've got that clocked and it will be on the big screen as well, so no excuses, come on down you are all welcome.

Sorry about the moan earlier …


Written by Jeremy Rice - HRFC Secretary.


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