Each week we shall be diving into the wonderful and colourful brains of our rugby club members and feasting on the historical memories within. First up (because he replied first) is our favourite National Sales Representative, Ian Kirley.
Joining the club way back in 1999, Ian Kirley is now in his 11th season as a Kingswood RFC player. Taking the classic, but slightly quicker route through the club, Kirley played 3rd team, 2nd team and finally 1st team all in his first season and finished the season with the accolade of ‘Young Player of the Year’. Incredibly, we have Kirley’s Uncle, Dave Honeywell, to thank (or not, depending on your view) that Kirley is a Kingswood player or indeed a rugby player at all, as after a short spell with Bristol Saracens, Kirley was actually contemplating crossing over to the dark side and becoming a footballer! Kirley was convinced to come and play for Kingswood and there he has remained and has gone on to be one of the select few to have his name on the Captaincy board (albeit spelt incorrectly).
Despite joining in 1999 and not playing much in his 2nd season due to his work commitments, it didn’t take Ian too long to make it to the pinnacle of his career when he Captained Kingswood’s 1st XV during their incredible 2005/06 season where they gained promotion into Gloucester 2 and secured a club record Semi Final place in the Combination Cup. He then stayed on as Captain in the following season where Kingswood finished just 3 points off achieving back-to-back promotions.
Not surprisingly, Ian’s favourite game as a Kingswood player was the climax of the 2005/2006 season when 2nd placed Kingswood hosted undefeated Tetbury. Both teams were already promoted but Kingswood were desperate to ruin Tetbury’s perfect season. An extremely fiery game saw Kingswood take the points with a last minute winning try from Mark Oakley. “It was extra sweet as I was captain at the time and also because they had a load of ringers in their side and brought coach loads of supporters down with the plan of celebrating in our club afterwards” Kirley said before adding, “They left quite quickly after the final whistle”.
So what for the future of Kingswood RFC, Kirley knows just what would make his perfect 2010/11 season. “I’d like to see the 1st XV make a big impact in Gloucester 1 and for the 2nd XV to have a more settled and successful season, hopefully with the injection of some more new players. Also would be good to see the junior section continue to be successful as it has been this season”
Kirley, a member of the International Sports Club of Indonesia who he has represented at 2 different 10’s Tournaments in both Bali and Jakarta, feels incredibly proud of his time at Kingswood as a Captain. “Being a member of the group of Captains who have never been relegated let along having gained promotion is a great honour. The Cup run was great as well as even with a weakened side, we still went to Saracens and played our hearts out in front of a big crowd and showed everyone what we are about”.
But despite his vacant look sometimes, Kirley is actually a fountain of knowledge, adding: “The Cadbury’s factory in Keynsham is currently the only factory making Crunchie bars and on a standard 24hr shift, makes 1.5 million of them!”
Well, we live and learn.
Thank you Mr Kirley for opening up to the club, I feel we have all got to know you just that little bit better.