FRC 1XV Eagles

Falmouth Rugby Club 1XV Eagles playing at the Recreation Ground. Photo: Neal Johnston

On the evening of the 20th of February, 2023, Falmouth Rugby Club (FRC) called an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to discuss the future of the 150-year-old club.

Urgent help is needed in all areas of running the club, an EGM is a way of letting people know what community spaces like this brings them and what they can give in return. Like what players can get through club memberships, helping the public understand how a rugby club is run, and the substantial work that volunteers put in.

John Bullock, current Chairman of the club, is particularly committed to moving the club forward in a new management structure format. Meetings like these also break the barrier between the players and the supporters, because without a cohesive relationship club’s like Falmouth would not be able to carry on providing for the community and their rugby players.

John Bullock began the meeting by calling in a new President. This is an honorary position that lasts two years and the President can do as little or as much as they like for the club during that time. Vice Chairman of the club James Instance and Scott Dunstan both proposed Paul Radmore as the new President of the club in 2023.

Radmore said: “I had ten good seasons, then I coached for a couple of years, then I became the Treasurer for a year, then the Secretary, and now President.”

Tom Spiller

Former Captain of Falmouth 1XV Eagles and new Head of Rugby Tom Spiller. Photo: Neal Johnston

Bullock told Truthfal that for him, and for most people, “it’s a really friendly family orientated club that just absorbs people.” That trend of keeping the club close to your heart year after year doesn’t seem to be stopping either.

After Falmouth Rugby Club parted with the Head Coach of the 1XV Eagles team, Tom Spiller Captain of the 1st men’s team, has volunteered to take the Head Coach position. “The ethos of the club is very much to be at the heart of the community where we have a space for everyone to come and feel comfortable”, Spiller says. Spills, as he’s more commonly referred to, has been with FRC since U8s, and there’s no sign of stopping his involvement with the club after the relegation of the Eagles to Cornwall 1:

“As I am winding down my playing career and taking on more off-field pressures, I feel we are certainly heading in the right direction.”

After positions were discussed and filled, Bullock turned his attention to the future of the club, and the Falmouth women’s team is a step in the right direction. “We started trying to understand what we wanted from our 150th year of continuous rugby a few years ago, one of the things that I was dead keen on was trying to make rugby, the game itself, more inclusive.” He praises Lydia Hawkins, Head of the Falmouth Women’s Rugby team, for being the driving force behind getting the Falmouth side going.

Lydia Hawkins spoke of the growing success of the women’s side and how she has been heavily supported by the club. “The Cornwall Women’s team that I had been playing for in 2022 had had their massively successful season and I think that really highlighted how the interest in women’s rugby in the UK in general, but especially in Cornwall, had massively grown.” The Women’s Football World Cup has also highlighted women’s sport.

Lydia Hawkins

Head of Women’s Rugby at FRC, Lydia Hawkins. Photo: Keith Larby

However, she added: “We need the same as the men’s team, we need team managers, help with organising and funding.”
Other focuses for the women’s team are facilities around the club, and a Head Coach. The club has already applied for grants for sanitary products and better female facilities.

Tom Spiller said he hopes, “they reap the regards for their hard work, and we can see a full Falmouth Women’s XV represent this great club in the future.”

This future, said Bullock, can only be achieved through support and volunteering. “The volunteer pool is quite small and shallow…if we can increase the depth of that pool, there’ll be more people doing less work…many hands make light work,” he says.

Head of finance, Mark Atkins, described the past three years for the club as “the maddest years possible.” With Covid-19, the cost-of-living crisis, and utilities (growth of 450% for the club), Falmouth Rugby Club is keeping their spending down to an absolute minimum. But “this isn’t about doom and gloom”, John exclaims, “it’s a call to arms!”

'The Thursday Gang'

FRC grounds maintenance, ‘The Thursday Gang’ © Just the Trick Design / Neal Johnston / Cornwall Sports Media

Some areas the club needs to fill with the help of volunteers are: Governance, Grounds & Facilities, Transport, Communication & Marketing, and Coaching. Currently, the grounds and facilities are solely looked after by a group called ‘The Thursday Gang’, but they need help. Every area of running a rugby club needs public support.

Anybody is welcome at the club, Bullock says, the more the merrier. If someone feels like they have skills to bring to the table, then approach the club as a volunteer.

If you’re interested in helping out at the rugby club visit their website, call John Bullock on: 07811 002568, or simply just come down to the clubhouse.