Chiswick RFC former long term Head Coach and Director of Rugby takes a trip down memory lane.
In our weekly interviews with former players and coaches we caught up with Adrian Hoile.
Name: Adrian Hoile
Years with Chiswick RFC: 7 (2010 – 2017)
Clubs: Coached – Sudbury Court, Richmond, Rosslyn Park, Chiswick, Bridgend Sports (Current) / Middlesex County, Bridgend District.
Current role at Chiswick RFC: VP, Passionate Believer, Living & Coaching in Wales Estranged from the love of my life 😉
Most memorable Chiswick moment(s)?
That’s tough, I was very lucky in my 7 years at the club to see finals or silverware every year from at least one of the 3-4 sides and had some great days watching sides other than the 1st XV on occasional Saturdays or Finals day if they made it. I was also lucky enough to be present for the 2nd XV MMT Cup Final in 2012, what a game and nobody forgets “That” Dave Hill tackle that won game for Chiswick. Also, you have so many memories in that period of time and meet so many good people on and off the pitch who (I hope) remember me as fondly as I remember them. It was a fairly rollercoaster like ride at times and I often think you didn’t see the best of me as a person, the rumours that I swear a lot and throw people under buses are not true, I simply did what I felt I needed to do to bring success to the club and I feel hand on heart I did that, my record says I did anyway.
However, as most of my time was spent with the 1st XV I will pick 3 memories that stand out. Before I give you the three memories, I again want to say how lucky I was with the time I had and players and results we got. We had some great victories and performances over the years, I always used to reference a home game vs Harpenden in my first or second season where with 5 minutes to go we were 30-17 down and then Simon Hallett but more so Rory Fletcher decided to turn the game on its head and pull us through to a 31-30 victory and of course I will never forget the Middlesex Cup Final in 2016 where Sam Leslie-Miller got us to Extra Time and then in the last thirty seconds of extra time the combination of Lowe, Steer and Ross scored possibly the best Try I have ever seen – that day was all about the performances individual and as a unit, amazing day. My first and Only Win at Hemel was also very special and of course I also got married and had my reception at the club but none of these are in the top three.
In Order they are:
3. Winning the 1st Middlesex Cup in 2013 – This was special for many reasons, Clubs First Middlesex Cup, my first Adult Middlesex Cup with My Co-Coach (and best Mate) Rocky Skinner (we had already won it 7 times at U19 level with sides) and also for me the fact we beat a former powerhouse of Middlesex Rugby so convincingly in the Final. No Matter what the state of Staines at that point they were always seen as a “Big” club, it was our time to try and be the Biggest club in Middlesex and this for me was important as having the Cup means you can claim that in some ways. We played very well on the day, Ray Brooks was at his menacing best, Sam Leslie-Miller was class in his first game and it became the game that started our shift to what I felt was very successful period.
2. Playing the Unbeaten Teams in Games we were going to lose – Apparently – Like any coach this is always special, but I always took great pleasure in these types of games especially if they were at Dukes Meadows where teams clearly found life uncomfortable. Games like Stevenage away and Harrow away were special memories, but the 3 best games were however Tabard, Old Priorians and Harrow at Home in various seasons.
All three were unbeaten when they came and all three also went on to win the leagues in the seasons, we beat them but in all 3 games they were completely outplayed by us and they were very special days.
Always nice to hear coaches not give you the respect afterwards and blame the showers especially the ones paid a lot of money and possibly paying their players!!!!
1.The London 1 Play Off vs Diss, but more a moment afterwards – The Game and the result (not only on the scoreboard but what it meant to the club) meant it was a very special day. The game was a typical playoff final, big vocal home crowd but the game was not great, and we got 2 yellows so played with 14 for the last ten minutes of each half. That said we won and that squad for many different reasons deserved it and I was pleased that a self-Proclaimed “3rd team” player Dan Godfrey scored the Try and more pleased that Simon Hallett got the kick to win us the game and promotion.
For myself the moment to remember was afterwards in the car park where myself and Chairman Kelvin Campbell stood looking out at the Pitch and without saying much, not sure we said anything, there was in a silent way an outpouring of relief, pride, respect, excitement.
It was a relief as it had been a long albeit successful season but everyone was drained, we had done very well in the National Cup but lost in QF stages because of the success we could take part in the Middlesex Cup so this was our one chance for a very good season to feel like one.
Pride because we both knew (and so did our phone bills) all the work by a lot of people over many years to get to that point.
Respect, I had great respect for Him as my boss and my friend, my players and even for Goose by the end, there was just a lot of silent nodding in everyone’s way as we all knew the effort undertaken over many years to achieve London 1.
Excitement – London 1 was coming, I felt we had proven we were the best team in Middlesex at our level on and off the pitch and Happy Days were ahead of the Club and it was time to step out of other clubs shadows and push on.
Those silent moments where so little was said so much was said and it’s a memory that I hold very close to me.
Best player you coached at Chiswick?
You know when I answer Gabs Lowe will never speak to me again right?
Look its hard, the Club was blessed with Good players the whole time I was there and I and the coaches were very lucky, we even had some Rolls Royce players like Andy Regan, Josh Noble, Glen Tucker, Hayden Watene, Adam Ross that for whatever reason (could be work, injury, life changes) only played for a season or less so don’t jump to peoples minds.
In an interview for the programme in my last Year I said Ady Lewis and Tom Adams were, but I think to balance it out and make the perfect Chiswick player I give you:
• Tom Adams – Toughness
• Ady Lewis – Honesty
• Sam Leslie-Miller – All Round Ability
• Dan Sutherland – Skills, Class, Leader (by deeds not words)
• Simon Hallett – Brain
• Jon Gibson – Competitiveness
• Sam Biss – The dog and fight of a true battler
• Rowan Tonkin – Footballing Skills for a Forward
• Gabs Lowe – hands on his day up there with the best, whilst at times he can’t do it he gets it in regards to what was poppy ball/chaos rugby.
• Luca Vannini – Clever play, control of a pack and game
• Riki Darroch – Engine & Commitment
• Jan Joubert – Loyalty to badge, squad all around him
• Wim Hulme – No man at Chiswick should be more applauded than Wim some days, he should have his hand shaken each week and is just a true Gent with EVERYONES feelings in his mind and he wants the best for EVERYONE
• Jon Joyce – On His Day the Prince of Wandsworth, Untouchable
• King Keith Luckman – He is Mr Chiswick!!!
Blend all that up and it’s the perfect Chiswick Player, maybe, if all committed at the same time with no work or holidays in between or 6 Nations or Autumn Internationals or Weddings!!!!!!
Out of all the Payers you’ve coached at Chiswick, your Best CRFC Squad?
Again very tough and if I left anyone out I apologise.
1. Heath McDonagh – Just a great all round player and one who ply’s his trade in the coal face. A great season with Chiswick. (Notable mentions – Tom Shattock, Matt Addison, Tom Dean, Marko C)
2. James Dibble – Although Glen Tucker was a fantastic player, all of my success (and some of the dark days) have seen Mr Dibble in the squad. A reliable, calm prescience (Notable mentions – Glen Tucker, Stewy P, James Filbey)
3. Jan Joubert – We converted him from Hooker and he never let us down. Big Heart, big respect and love for his team, loyal player. (Notable mentions – Stewy P, Steffan Davies, Shane Donaldson)
4. Matt Pickering – lacks the finesse of Sam Hood but in the year we went up to London 1 Matt, for me, was immense. Old Fashioned war horse of a second row, when fit runs all day and with decent hands. Very much an unsung Chiswick legend. (Notable mentions – Seth McCullan, Hayden Watene)
5. Sam Hobbins – Quality Player, one season before departing for London Irish but was Player of the Year that season. Good athlete, great hands. (Notable mentions – Sam Hood, Oli Hire, Simon Allen-Clarke)
6. Tom Adams – A true tough Man. Body on the line every game, sacrificed himself for the team week in and week out. A selfless player and one that because of work could hardly train. Not the biggest Body but one of the Biggest Hearts on a rugby field I have ever seen. (Notable mentions – Matt Cooper, Sam Biss, Marc Copperwheat)
7. Riki Darroch – Annoyingly spent his first season at the club avoiding 1st XV rugby. Tough, committed club man. Good hands and a lethal defence. A player we built around. (Notable mentions – Rory Fletcher, Ben Kelly)
8. Sam Leslie-Miller – Only man for this role in my side. Have known “Sir” Les for a while but got to coach and then see his best rugby at Chiswick. Good all round forward, great hands and deadly on the Wing! (Notable mentions – Matt Cooper, Hayden Watnee, Micheal Fatsis)
9. Luca Vannini © – Great behind a pack, good in attack and a will to put his body on the line in defence. Different interest off the field lead at times to him maybe not getting the credit he deserves as skipper, the history books tell the story, he was a very successful skipper and leader of men. He also had to deal with me and Rocky whilst learning English, not an easy or fun task!! (Notable mentions – Neil Gill, Gabs Lowe, Adam Ross, Russ Dovey)
10. Simon Hallett – My heartbeat, leader, figurehead, poster boy but ultimately a Quality Player and person. Whilst we talk about Chiswick Legends, I hope there is an extra wing for Chiswick Immortals and I fully expect Simon to end up there. Has my full and utter respect on and off the pitch (Notable mentions – The King Keith Luckman, Dave Hill, Gabs Lowe)
11. Ady Lewis – My favourite Chiswick back, possibly player, always unorthodox. Never frightened to say what he feels and the usually backed it up on the pitch. Clever line breaker looked like he had been pulled out of a pub at times but could open up the opposition quicker than he could down a pint. Really good consistent performer and never got above himself. (Notable mentions – George Dimitriadis, Ray Brooks)
12. Jon Gibson – The General, A true Competitor, Loves his Club and ruthless in his ambition to achieve that for the club and himself. Great Motor, great hands, hard defence. A WINNER. (Notable mentions – Andy Regan, Max Burrows)
13. James Bunbury – A class act and would work very well of Gibbo. A cutting turn of pace and great vision and eye for the gap. I had coached him as a Young man and he was very good but he was even better as an adult. (Notable mentions – Josh Noble, Dan Godfrey, Ben Cheston)
14. Dan Sutherland – All round Winger. Aggressive, elusive and great hands and vision. Determined on the pitch and on his day unplayable. (Notable mentions – Jamie Milias, Tom Steer)
15. Tom Duffy – Very Clever player, great feet and a great Boot. Offers an all round game from Full Back and would link up well with the rest of the back 4. (Notable mentions – Gabs Lowe, Dave Hill)
16. Rowan Tonkin – Without negativity a Super Sub. Gets the Nod over better Props as he can play anywhere in the pack. Great hands and ability.
17. Jon Joyce – So Hard to leave out but bring him on for some X-Factor. A committed Joycie is one of the best back 5 forwards in Amateur rugby in London.
18. Matt Cooper – My Fall back option. Makes most of my squads when available. Gives me everything (Good & Bad) he has and I trust him in the games that matter sometimes over better players. It’s what you know at times.
19. Joe Grindle – Unlucky not to make Full Back but depending on the situation to bring him off the bench knowing he can play 9, 11,13,14,15 just give you so many exciting options. Probably one of the best attackers I have seen, wont say Coached as Joe was one of those players you coached very little just let him run and correct him (if he will listen) after hes taken the risk and failed, luckily for us he succeeded more than he failed.
20. Gabs Lowe – My Second Super Sub. Better than most give him credit for. Very clever brain and knows how to play the game. Offer the ability to play at 9,10,12,15 great option to change the game.
What do you wish to see from Chiswick RFC in the future?
I want to see Chiswick be successful on the pitch but also hope it can grow and reach its potential within the community off the pitch. I hope to see some of the Junior Players fulfil the journey and start to play for the senior sides when old enough. I am a strong believer (even more so with the rugby role I have at the Club I am at in Wales) that Strong Clubs build Good Teams and not the other way round. The stronger the club is off the pitch the stronger it will get on the pitch and I think the new pitch is the start of that theory.