I spoke yesterday with Cambridge Director of Rugby, Rowland Winter, to get his views on the season that’s just passed. I also ask about the End of Season Dinner and Player Awards and about preparations in place for next season. Listen to the interview below………
First Team ManagerTracey Baxter believes he may be throwing the club into chaos in the near future. This is because he will be missing the first few fixtures at the start of next season, as he will be the Team Liaison Officer for Argentina during the upcoming World Cup in September and October (depending on how far the Argies go in the tournament).
“Who will keep the boys in-check while I’m away. Ian Whitby will take over my role in my absence, but he’s more of the good cop and I’m the bad, and I fear the players may take advantage of him! But, on the other hand, if he copes well I may not have a job when I come back!”
Ian, Cambridge’s Kit Manager, replied by saying: “No need to worry. We’ve coped without you in the past, plus, there were lots before you and there will be plenty after, so no panic!”
Tracey has been part of the club since 1985, when he joined as a player, as a second or back row forward. When he finished playing, he took on the role of coaching the youth and colts, before also combining this with coaching the County and Eastern Counties age grade sides. Then, more recently as one of two coaches working with the Cambridge Development squad.
From 1985 to 2000, Tracey and Ian made over 350 appearances for the club, scoring 25 tries between them.
Nowadays though, their glamour has faded somewhat, but the roles they play within the club are still extremely valuable, and their faces are ever-present wherever the team goes. Tracey’s duties include organising the travel and food amongst others, but probably most difficult of all is keeping tabs on the players!
He says: “The playing standard here has certainly risen since I played, but the players themselves are needier than ever! Players want certain things at certain times: Greeny ‘needs’ his wrist tape, Jim Wigglesworth always ‘needs’ a guzzle of Lucozade before going out, yet he can never find the bottle, even though they’re always in exactly the same place! Wolfie likes to cuddle a water bottle throughout the warm-up and always manages to lose it. The list goes on, but their hearts are in the right place!”
“Wolfie likes to cuddle…”
Ian’s job is that of kit man, and having seen some of the mud-baths we’ve been involved with recently, a job I do not envy. He must cringe when the team has to come in at half-time and change kits because they’re caked in mud! Double the amount to wash!
But, his duties don’t end there, and as Tracey knows all too well, the players can often be the biggest burden on the job. Ian says: “I get all the kit ready to go on Thursday night. I often get calls or e-mails on Friday night, sometimes when they should really be in bed already! Some say “Have you seen my gum shield?” or “did I leave my boots at training”, Wolfie is one of the main culprits! Some players are just a bit spoilt, our club captain Stef for example, he wants everything set out just right for him, but we just have to try to keep them happy!”.
Sometimes though it’s not just the players. Ian says: “Rowland Winter can be a real pain at times! He has a knack of wanting something at the last minute. We have to second guess him sometimes and say yep, we’ve packed that already. I’d say we only use about a tenth of the gear we take away with us on a Saturday!