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President’s Welcome – Season 2021/22

I am immensely proud to have been elected President of Cobham Rugby as we enter our 81st season.


This is the first Presidential change for some time. Many plaudits have rightly been levelled at Lionel for the last 10 years of dedicated service, but few know the full extent and depth of his commitment to the Club – just ask his long suffering wife, Jackie and you’ll have a small idea of the time and effort he has and continues to make on our behalf! Thank you Lionel from us all.


It’s my honour and pleasure to continue ‘Lionel’s Legacy’ and ensure Cobham Rugby remains the friendliest of Rugby Clubs - this is central to my plans as President.


For those of you who do not have a clue who I am, here’s a brief introduction. I joined the ‘Old Surbs’ as a player (and already a fully signed up member of the ‘Front Row Union’) in season ‘79/80, having previously played at Esher Colts and South Bank Poly.


Over many subsequent seasons I played in every side (mostly at Loosehead, having been typecast at an early age!!), Captaining Cobham 1st XV in ‘96/97 and finally retiring from the Vets in 2007. I had the honour of serving the Club as Chairman for six years, just before and during the development of the new clubhouse and latterly have had responsibility procuring the clubs playing kit and shop stock.


It’s been fantastic to witness the birth and successes of Mini and Youth Rugby at the Club and the elite players that have come out of these sections and gone on to great things; a tradition which Cobham Girls Rugby, under the drive and determination of Vicky Alexander, is now continuing.  



We are a ‘Club’ and its gratifying to see so many friends and playing piers still very involved in various capacities.


It’s fair to say that the Club has played a significant part in my life and I am very proud to see its evolution, especially since the development of ‘The Curve’ and grounds at Fairmile Lane, the Covenham Grounds and now the AGP. I acknowledge the commitment, time, skill, expertise, dedication and sheer bloody hard work of all those who have, and continue to, contribute to driving the Club forward.


That said, amid developing and striving to fund our class leading facilities, I sometimes think that some of the enjoyment, fun and comradery that I enjoyed as a player gets a little lost. I realise that times have changed, BUT as a rugby man, I would like to put ‘rugby’ and enjoyment front and centre as to why we do everything else. With comradery, strong identity and ‘Club Spirit’ we make our Club an aspirational place to play and the results will follow.


Fairmile Lane, Cobham IS and always has been a great place to play rugby, whatever age group or section – play for the shirt, play for each other, support each other. We are ONE CLUB – we are COBHAM. There is a ‘Lion’ on our shirt for a reason: ‘amino et fide pergite’ - with Courage and Faith Press on!


We have a strong club which is of course held together by the dedication of its volunteers. We are a MEMBERS’ CLUB, run by the members for the benefit of the members. Whether a Cobham player, parent or social member it is vital that you VOLUNTEER - the future success of your club depends on it and EVERY VOLUNTEER COUNTS.


Thank you to all those who give us their time to make our Club great and I am especially looking forward to welcoming back all our Vice Presidents and Braemar/All Stars members during the coming season.


Especially important post-Covid is the wide range of social events that are planned for the coming season – please support as many as you can. We are a ‘Club’ and these events are where club spirit and sense of community is made. Recent times have been tough for all of us, so let’s look forward to a great season of rugby, enjoy being together (safely), be it training, playing, supporting, lunching or just enjoying using our fantastic Club Bar and facilities at The Curve at Fairmile Lane.


Finally, I plan to meet as many members as possible, across all sections, as the season progresses – if you see me wandering around, please come and say hello!


I wish all sections a safe, successful and enjoyable season.


Ian Thomas


Cobham Rugby


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