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Captain’s Log: Ben Goodey, Fairford Rugby Club

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 19th December 2019, 09:00, Tags: Captain's Log

Ben Goodey in action against Painswick Ben Goodey in action against Painswick

Ben Goodey is in his fifth season as captain of Fairford Rugby Club and in that time they have been on a steep upward curve.

They’ve established themselves in the Gloucestershire divisions, won promotion to Gloucestershire One at the end of last season and are now giving some big names at the higher level a real run for their money.

Not that the club’s success is all down to Goodey, of course, far from it, and the tighthead prop typifies the ‘all for one and one for all’ team spirit that has taken the club to the upper reaches of Gloucestershire One.

“The main thing for us is team unity, we pride ourselves on that,” said Goodey. “We all love our team-mates, it’s all about what we can do for each other. It’s not about individuals, there are no egos, there are no heroes at our club.

“There’s a great feeling at the club and when you’ve got momentum as well it produces a dangerous weapon.”

It certainly does as near-neighbours Cirencester, who were beaten 32-15 at Coln House School in September, can testify.

“Beating Cirencester in any capacity is special,” Goodey added. “It shows how far we’ve come, our 2nds also beat their 2nds so it was a very, very good day for the club.

“They’ve always been the best club around here but now we can say we are.”

Goodey, who will be 30 in January, joined Fairford in 2010 when the club were playing in Dorset/Wiltshire Division.

“It was nowhere near the standard we’re playing now, not even close,” he admitted.

The club certainly wasn’t as healthy back then as they are now, so much so that when only four players turned up for a training session just two weeks before the start of the season they made the difficult decision to drop out of the league.

“We decided to step back and rebuild, it was a sacrifice we had to make but it was worth it in the end,” Goodey said. “Don’t get me wrong, it was hard at the time but we regrouped, joined the Gloucestershire Division and it’s all gone on from there. I’ve seen it all, the highs and the lows.”

And Goodey has played a big part in the highs even though he admits he never expected to captain the side.

“I was a bit shocked when I was asked,” he said. “I’ve always been vocal, big on camaraderie but there is a bit more to being captain than that.

“It’s not just about big carries, making tackles and being a hero, you’ve got to be clear in your decision-making as well.”

Goodey has learned from a number of captains he has played under over the years but he’s also been lucky enough to have spoken to one of the very best in the professional game.

“Greig Laidlaw came to our club a few years ago,” explained Goodey. “It was arranged by one of our sponsors and he came with a couple of other Gloucester lads.

“He’s captained Gloucester and Scotland so I made sure I had a chat with him.”

So what did Goodey learn?

“It’s great when you’re winning, you just carry on doing what you’re doing,” he said. “It’s when the chips are down and heads are down, that’s when you need to think clearly.

“He said to set yourself and the team short-term goals every minute, so for example, at a re-start you need to catch the ball, seal it and exit.

“While everyone else is shouting, you’ve got to be accurate, brief and clear with your instructions. He said don’t try to over-complicate and don’t try to be a hero, just concentrate on doing the simple things right.”

They are words that Goodey has certainly taken on board and while he’s clearly a good captain he’s the first to say he’s been helped by having a very tight-knit group of players around him.

“All we want to do is prove to ourselves that we are a good team,” said Goodey. “We know we’re good players but we want to be a good team.”

And Goodey has every motivation for Fairford, who were formed only in 1997, to keep on winning in the weeks, months and years ahead.

“My girlfriend Leanne loves the rugby even more than me,” said Goodey. “We’re getting married in 18 months’ time. That will be a big thing for the club and I promised her we’d be getting married on the back of a good season!”

That will be at the end of the 2020/21 campaign and all the signs are that he will be able to keep that promise!

Other Images

Fairford have enjoyed great success in recent times

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