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It's Meet and drink to Askeans!



The phrase ‘looking forward’ can mean anticipating something positive or gazing into the future. Last Friday night at the traditional end of season Dinner at Askeans it was definitely both! The reason being that the 23/24 season has seen some very encouraging advances both on and off the field.

Our final mid table position disguised many of the strong positives including a good run to the semi-final of the ‘Salver’ where we went down in a close game to a team from a higher league.

The addition of a number of new players to the squad meant that, despite some key injuries, the team was competitive and completed a full league programme, which not all other teams in our league managed.

All these positives were in evidence at the Dinner and the Rectory Field would have been packed to the rafters (if there were any).

Nevertheless it was definitely a packed clubhouse!


Packed to the rafters!

The 72 in attendance represented the highest number for many years and were all treated to an excellent menu by South London Catering with many thanks to Debbie.

Special thanks need to be given to Jack Fiennes, Fionn O’Connor, Will Glendenning, Danny and Tim Walkden who did a great job, waiting and serving  the meals.

In addition to the many players, there were wives, girlfriends, partners and, as with last year, Jack Henderson’s Mum and Dad came back for seconds!

Once again,  University of Greenwich players were out in force - both on the field during the season and on the night.

Past players were, as always, well represented with Graham (Smith and Briggs), Alan Hunt (who sadly wasn’t in charge of the raffles), Sean McManus, Jeff Woollen, Mark Morahan together with others, plus members of the committee including Ian Lunn, Steve Homewood, and Ian Johns.

Special guests were Peter Ayling (President of the Old Askean Association) and Glenn Filer, our Referee Liaison Officer, who also made a very generous donation  to the club funds.

Retiring Chairman Steve Homewood took the role of MC and began by recognising a number of Askeans who are sadly no longer with us, with particular mentions for club legends ‘Mr Rugby’ Frankie Briggs and former coach Len Jeffrey.

It was then the turn of 1st XV captain Charlie King and Nick Patten (who captained when Charlie was unavailable) to underline the season’s successes.

Charlie thanked the senior players - in particular Nick Patten and Lewis Bainbridge who stepped up to team management roles.

Nick brought a lighter touch, reflecting the important, often unheralded, areas of continuing and growing team camaraderie, the massive contributions by Len and the support of the committee.


The Awards were greeted enthusiastically and generously.

Award Winners Season '23/24

Tom Salmon - Most Improved Player

Jack Henderson - Top Try Scorer

Igor Pestrikov - Young Player of the Year

Lewis Bainbridge - Players' Player of the Year

Ciaran O'Flynn - Supporter of the Year


Dave O'Connor - Askean of the Year

Dave O’Connor’s award was very special, acknowledging his retirement and his significant contribution to Askeans over the years.


Before the raffle, the audience were treated to a surprising and excellent aria from new prop Alex Masters with his own version of ‘Swing Low’ - hopefully there was no one with ties to the Royal Opera House there - we need to keep good props.

The excellent raffle prizes were donated by Cote Brasserie in Blackheath Village and went almost exclusively to University of Greenwich players - the exception being one that Nick Patten managed to pick up. The raffle generously raised more than £300 for 'Friends of Askean RFC' charity.


Raffle Prize Winners

Finally Ian Lunn, Director of Rugby and our new Chairman proposed a Toast to the guests and underlined the benefits of the strong club loyalties that have been in strong evidence through ‘Thick and thin’ for many seasons (more thick now thankfully).

He reminded everyone of the close season events, including a planned barbecue, and of course the importance of preseason training and everyone staying in touch through the Summer months.


Overall, the dinner reflected a very successful season.


It was also a great underlining of the forward thinking of Askeans with the Club looking to make next year being ‘Future Perfect’.


Written by our Roving Reporter Dave Shute aka ‘Shutey’



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