“I’m looking forward to playing more games for the Occies and hopefully more Dads will join and have a run around.”
Dave Simpson - London Welsh Minis dad.
Fiji Dave and his comeback to the wonderful game of rugby!
I only started playing rugby when I was 16 and my only claim to silverware was winning the Fiji U18 Championship …22 long years ago. My first taste of club rugby in London was with Northolt RFC and then I went on to play at Grasshoppers RFC for 8 seasons.
When I moved to Richmond and had children, I got involved with the London Welsh Minis when my son Jamie started at Under 6 with the legendary coaching duo of Julian and Seb. For some reason, Seb loved my Fijian connections and corralled me into doing a haka at the Kids Christmas party. This has now become a tradition for that age group.
At first it was just Sunday mornings, then I got introduced to a few U7 dads who had a regular game of touch rugby every Tuesday night.
That game of touch has now turned into a really good way of attracting new people to the club. We now have quite a few regulars who come down for a run around along with players from the men’s and women’s teams. We also have dads and sons from our Minis rugby. I think the most we’ve had at Touch over the summer is about 80 people.
My son and I have now being part of London Welsh Minis for 5 seasons and we have loved every minute of it. The club has a very family friendly environment and it’s always good to meet new parents and kids.
My son had always asked me to play so he could come along and watch. So, when I signed up for the recent Occies V Bank of England match, I don’t know who was more excited as Saturday finally came around. Jamie was in his minis kit and was our water boy, physio, and possibly sub if we need him in at full back. He was so excited to be passing the ball to the forwards and having a go at doing conversions.
20 minutes before kick-off and the referee is doing a boot check before we finish our stretches and warm up. Butterflies in my stomach and I’m trying to see who my opposite number is. I hadn’t felt this way in 7 years and I just wanted to get on with the game.
I had only played lock/loosie so it came as a surprise when they said I’d be playing at inside centre. As you can imagine, the emails and WhatsApp messages were all asking if they had got it right. I arrived at the changing room on the day and the lads said that there was finally someone who was big enough to fit the 12 jersey.
I asked our scrum half to give me the first pass so I could get back into it and stretch the hamstrings. We started off really well and they were pinned in their half before a turnover saw them quickly get the ball out and run in a try under our posts.
We got a try back on the last play of the half and went into the break 10-7. The second half started really well and we managed to get some phases going. Even though we were pressing they still managed to get turnovers and run in a few more tries.
I found myself at the back of the ruck and having a run and was then told that I was a centre for the day and to keep to the backs. I know right…old habits and all that. Plus I didn’t have any hair products (as all backs do) with me so I just reverted to being a forward. I ended the game playing at 8 and had a blast doing pick and go’s. We lost the game but were already given the points as Bank of England had already conceded the game to us on Friday.
My whole family came to watch me play and my daughter even asked if she could bring the Fiji flag with her to cheer me on. It was really cool to have my son on the sideline asking if I was ok and my wife and daughters cheering me on..and to get up and get back into it. There were also a few dads from the U11’s there as well. Namely, Matt Calabria and Chris Allen who I met when my son and I joined London Welsh 5 years ago.
I’m looking forward to playing more games for the Occies and hopefully more dads will join and have a run around.
Touch Rugby is every Wednesday evening 7:30pm at Old Deer Park, Richmond
The Occies or Occasionals team have a long heritage at the club and provides great rugby for those who can’t always commit to regular training or games but enjoy good rugby and the social side of things!
For more information - Email : email@example.com
Updated 14:43 - 19 Feb 2019 by The Official London Welsh