A CACOPHONY of captains, past and present, descended on Stow RFC last Saturday as the club proudly opened its newly-extended £180,000 changing room facility.
And there was a victory to celebrate on the pitch, too.
The firsts were denied a win when Swindon College Old Boys belatedly could not raise a team, but the seconds saw off Minchinhampton Rams in the Merit Table league fixture.
“Fifteen ex-captains were present and we could have had more but we were unable to accommodate any more for lunch,” admitted David Oughton, who is in the second year of his second spell as club chairman.
Representing the RFU was Morgana Simpson, their rugby development officer and among the captains was current incumbent Tim Peachey and the oldest ex-skipper in attendance, Tom Adcock.
Stow have seen two of their former juniors, Elliott Stooke and Ollie Thorley, break into the Gloucester RFC first team this season at Kingsholm and Stow’s first XV are more than holding their own in the Southern Counties North, having been promoted last term. But there is no complacency around the club which continues to drive forward – hence their latest investment.
“The changing room had electric heating which was proving very expensive so we have joined up to the government’s ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’ scheme and had two biomass boilers installed,” said Oughton.
“With the solar panels we had fitted last year we are actually generating some income for the club and now have a very green footprint.
“The latest work has cost £180,000 of which £100,000 came from an interest- free loan from the RFU which must be paid back over 15 years.
“We have added a new first team changing room with shower and toilet blocks, and there is also a dedicated room for the referee, including shower.”
Stow RFC have still been able to find some money to help two worthy charitable causes.
“We have raised £1,000 for Walking for Wounded and another £800 for the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust,” said Oughton.
And the future continues to look bright at Stow RFC as the club ethos is to support home grown talent.
“There was a recent County U16s game versus an Academy side in which we supplied five players on one team and two on the other,” admitted Oughton with some pride.