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Pitchero Club

The official England Deaf Rugby Union app


An insight to being an EDRU volunteer

By Sean Fletcher

Gina Iaquaniello (Player, team manager, vice captain, Chairwoman, committee member).

“All true words, said from the heart by the current EDRU Chair.” Gina Iaqueniello

So there is a lot of time to think and reflect on a 7 hour drive home from Sale on your own

On a personal note I hate losing. That’s just cos I’m competitive to the hilt. (That’s what having two big brothers does to you) however let’s put things in perspective.
It was only a couple of years ago we couldn’t even raise 15 players.
We are now at the point where selection is tough and Ben has some hard decisions to make. We have come so far but it wasn’t that long ago where I recall the men being where we are today. I seeen they grow beyond recognition since then. We need to keep going and building. Your spirit was awesome today. Remember it’s only our second 15s game in a year! Every time we play we get better. The team we played today has had lots of money invested into it, taken the best players from local clubs and train twice a week. There were lots of positives in our game today. Yes we have things to work on but so what. We all get to training and work on them. You will have to fight for your place! Great debut by Sian ?

Fantastic game. Made a bit of hard work of it but came good in the end. I know Fletch has had his say. New caps to Jacob, Taylor and Conner and the depth in the squad now is amazing. Orrick you will be missed. I wish you all the best. See you when you’re home ?
I know selection is tough for Fletch too and competition for places is fierce.

So on my travels these were my thoughts.
I am profoundly deaf in both ears. I wear hearing aids but truth is they do not help much. If I’m being honest I wear them because just sometimes it helps people realise I’m deaf and they look at me when they speak which makes lip reading easier for me.
Personally I don’t like to make a drama out of being deaf. I just try to get on with it.
There are people out there who are blind, have learning difficulties, other physical disabilities, chronic illness,mental health issues or just a tough home life. I always think there are people who way more worse off than me. Everyone has their problems. Mine just happens to be I can’t hear for toffee. I know we have varying degrees of deafness in the team however I’m sure we have all had times where we have felt left out of a conversation, wander off in a world of your own in a bar because you can’t hear what’s being said. At times it can be very lonely and isolating. However being Deaf has also been amazing for me. I say that because being deaf has allowed me to be part of this amazing group of people. I can never quite put into words the bond we all have. I struggle to find words to describe the depth of genuine care we have for each other. We don’t see each other for weeks and when we are together it’s like we have never been apart. The truth is, rugby aside we are all part of the most amazing EDRU family. We are never alone. If something is troubling you there is always someone within EDRU who will be there for you. Never forget that. Always find someone to speak to. We may have poor hearing but that has gained us one massive family.

Through being part of EDRU we travelled (Italy, Oz, Bulgaria, Wales) we’ve played against New Zealand. We have been on tv, won awards, we have the honour of wearing the? the list goes on......
Let’s be honest we have all had experiences through being part of EDRU that we would never have had without it. Some of these were truly fantastic and memorable.
For me Oz is on my list of best lifetime experiences and I only have to think about it to have the biggest cheesiest grin on my face. Most rewarding too are the times when we go to help the deaf kids. We have to remember that we have and continue to inspire young people and to show them that being deaf doesn’t matter. They can still achieve. I find the faces of those kids at the end of one of our days rewarding and equally seeing the youngetsers that we have attracted in recent months for both squads coming through.
As much as it makes me feel my age I love to see it. They are our future and I hope they go on to inspire others in the same way. You may not realise it but what you are all doing is phenomenal. However I feel we must always remain humble. I am lucky to have had this experience and we all need to remember that and not become ignorant or arrogant.

I know I bang on about it but none of this could happen without the team.
Fletch works on EDRU most days. If it’s not planning it’s fundraising or organising.
The kit doesn’t just get stuffed in bags the night before a game.
It’s done weeks before a game to enable numbering etc. After the game some kit is washed 6 or 7 times or more to try and get it that perfect white you all love.
That’s all takes time.
Jacko filmed today and the feedback has been great and it’s huge for us however it’s not just about today, there have been weeks of planning and negotiations with RFU and BBC.
Rooms, food, awards, caps, snacks, refs, official invites, match food, sponsored kit, grounds, training venues ......... so on and so on. We also have the best committee we have ever had along with people like Cheyne and Steph working constantly on social media. It’s a huge team effort guys and we are very lucky these people all give their time freely to make it all happen. Without them we would crumble. I’m saying this because I want you to understand just how much is done behind the scenes to allow you to play.
I also say these things because we try to do as much as we can with a very limited budget.
Our kit is limited and if everyone takes a bit every time we play we won’t have enough for a squad to wear at a game.

So you ask what’s next?
We are planning on Ilkey sevens. Historically although a sevens tournament we have used it as a bit of a social gathering where we camp over and have a drink. A kind of end of season thing. That’s 13 July. It would be great to have you all there even if you’re not playing.

We want to try and organise another International other than Wales. However funding is always an issue especially as the other Deaf teams are all in the Southern Hemisphere.
We also want to make sure everyone gets a game so will do our best to ensure everyone gets the chance to play. Girls don’t worry we are thinking of you too.
Please be assured we are doing our best to make next season as good as possible.
So it’s half one in the morning. I’m just in. The first thing I have done is put the kit in soak in the bath.
I’m still buzzing from today.
If I had to choose a job within EDRU if I’m being totally honest my first choice wouldn’t be Chair. I prefer being where it’s at however you guys make being Chair easy.
You beauts have at times made me so proud I wanted to cry and today was one of those days. Lots to plan, lots to do, lots to work on for both squads and I just want to say that I’m so so proud of you all and what we are achieving as an organisation
Well done.
Thank you all
Love you all massively.
Cheers to EDRU ?

Updated 20:35 - 16 Apr 2019 by Sean Fletcher

Where next?

2019/2020 season Final preparations are being made for another exciting season of deaf rugby!
RIP Mike Ho


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Sat 13 Apr
International Deaf Mens XV Wales Deaf Rugby Union
Cup 22 – 6
England Deaf Women XV Sale FC (Women)
Friendly 0 – 30

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