Chairman’s Report Season 2001/02
The 125th season of the club can be described as one of celebration and disappointment. The various events held during the year were a great success but our failure at the final hurdle in both league and cup was disappointing.
The season began with the arrival of a new director of rugby - Rudy Jubert, and a new competition - the Celtic League. Injuries to many senior players meant we started the season with a very young side and defeats to Connacht, Neath and Munster put paid to any progress in the Celtic League despite an excellent home victory over Newport.
Away form at the beginning of the season was not always what it could be and three defeats in the European Cup meant for the first time we failed to qualify for the quarter-finals. Having failed to progress in both Celtic and European competitions was disappointing and also led to a very fragmented season with breaks of five and six weeks which did little to help the continuity of the side’s progress.
Returning to league action Christmas with two wins a draw and a defeat at Ebbw Vale, was to prove costly later in the season.
Action in the Principality Cup began the second half of the season with a hard earned victory over Aberavon landing us a home tie with the old enemy Newport. A full house witnessed pulsating cup tie with us running out winners 20 points to 14. The semi-final defeat by Pontypridd, despite outscoring three tries to one, was again disappointing when we seemed capable of winning the game.
The end of season brought a run of five games in 15 days and left us wondering about the allocation fixtures when we had weeks without games earlier in the season. Defeats away at Swansea and home to Llanelli were to end our chances of league success. Whilst we finished the season without any silverware the progression of some the younger players during the season leaves us with plenty of hope for the future.
Many of own those young players have appeared during season for the Under 21s and had produced some excellent performances. Two defeats in 16 matches meant the league was won and only in 18-15 defeat to Neath prevented a league and cup double for this outstanding side. The hard work of coaches Mike Rayer and Howard Stone in the Cardiff Academy will in future pay dividends for the club.
The Youth XV under the guidance of Gerry Roberts and Huw Daniels has had an another outstanding season and retain the Welsh cup for the third successive season. The hard work of chairman Jim O’Donnell and his committee has maintained a highest of standards. The Academy's end of season tour to Poland provided a great experience for both Under 21 and Youth players who took part. One victory and one defeat at the end of a hard season was a very credible performance.
The club’s International representation at all levels continues to grow and the club is proud of their achievements. David Young captained the club for the fourth season and we wish him well as he moves towards coaching and experience will be invaluable to the club. John Humphreys and Craig Quinell have departed the club during the summer and we wish them well in England. Craig has worked hard for the club in the few seasons he has been with us and John has been a tremendous ambassador for the club for more than a decade during which time he captain club and country. On behalf of all the members I wish them both well.
Robert Norster's arrival as Chief Executive has helped structure club and I wish Bob and his office staff the very best success in the future. Coach Rudy Joubert. Assitant Coach Geraint John, fitness coach Huw WIltshire analyst Alan Carter physiotherapist Mrs Jane James and Hywel Griffiths, Masseur Wayne Mortimer, doctors Roger Evans Prof John Williams, Mr John Fairclough, Mr Mike Fardy, Dr Richard Evans Dr Jim Naismith Dr Malcolm Sn ow, Mr Geoff Graham and optician Frank Maloney dentist Geoff Price, media officer Alan Evans are all responsible for the effective running of the team and we thank them all.
The Rugby committee continues in support of the club and the teams at all levels and my many thanks go to one and all especially honorary secretary Brian Bennett. Many thanks to Vicky McCracken and Jackie Flynn for their valuable work. The management committee under the chairmanship of Mervyn Warfield continues as landlords the rugby club and a close working relationship is essential for the success of the club.
The Board of Directors continues to support the running of the successful club. To Brian Walker and his ground staff and Karl Williams and bar staff many thanks.
The lottery continues to raise monies for the development of rugby and special thanks to Cathy and Ken Jones, Graham Kierle and Brian Bennett. The supporters club and the chairmanship Simon Down continues to grow we thank him and is committee for the tremendous support during the season. Capital rugby goes from strength to strength and is wonderful to see so many children taking to the field at pre-match tournaments, long may it continue.
I would like to end by thanking all members for their support during the past season. As mentioned earlier the destruction of fixtures e.g. Friday night games Saturday evening games is frustrating for everyone we all hope a more structured season. The support of the members is vital to the continued success of this great club Cardiff rugby club looks forward to your loyal support next season.
Yours in rugby