Nominee: Robin Riding
In 2003, my family and I moved to Dubai from Mauritius. It was a big move as we were living on the beach there and had a wonderful life.
My sons Josh and Chris were 12 and 8 at the time.
Rugby has always been my passion, having played it at a reasonable level in school and the military.
In 2004, we joined the Exiles, both my sons playing in their respective age groups. It was very apparent to my wife Jill and I that we were going to spend a lot of our social life at this special club. Our previous Chairman, Mike Wolff, coached my young son, and we became regulars at both fixtures and training.
In 2005, I started coaching my older sons age group with a bunch of guys, and coached him through to u19s. I then started with my younger son Chris’s age group and coached him through to men’s. In both age groups we enjoyed a high level of success, in fact of the 4 tours we did, each age group got to travel to South Africa and compete in the coveted Craven week competitions in one of the divisions.
Throughout this time, Exiles has become like family to me, and This is why I believe that I can make a difference as Chairman.
I believe that we have to get back to our roots as a club, and not have all the age groups doing their own thing, but us all doing it together, through clear lines of communication and transparency.
In my short time as Interim Chairman, I have sought to engage the age group managers and coaches to be involved.
We have engaged an interim new Director of Mini and Youth rugby, and created a strong under 19s section to feed into the men’s, creating a player pathway from school boy rugby.
We have engaged with a new netball coach, and she is having great success at reviving Exiles netball.
Our cricket section is going from strength to strength, with a new youth concession for u13 to u19 available. There are a lot of good people with a lot of energy who want to see this club prosper and be recognised as the club to play for.
We have appointed a new general manager who has put us on the map through the website and other marketing initiatives.
I have engaged with our sponsors and suppliers, including Fibbers, to make your experience at the clubhouse as enjoyable as it should be.
My first priority is to have members feel that they really want to be at Exiles, and enjoy this family.
We have aligned our fee structure to make it more competitive, which has been received in a positive light by the community. The more members we attract, the more we can do in terms of subs and attracting sponsors.
I believe that through working well together, we can excel as a club.