Nottingham Rugby head coach Neil Fowkes is to step down from his duties at the end of this season.
The 40-year-old has green and white running through his veins having been a part of the club for over 20 years, enjoying making 210 appearances for the first team as well as Managing the side from 2018.
The locally born former loose head prop first made his debut in 1999 and was part of the squad that gained promotion to the rugby championship from the National Division One in 2003/04.
More recently, for the last three seasons, Fowkes as been at the helm in coaching first team matters as Nottingham regularly achieve consistent performances in English Rugby Union’s second tier, last season the club was in a comfortable mid table position and cup semi-final before covid hit, this seasons delayed, frustrating and disappointing start, with the club losing each of their first three matches after completely rebuilding in the off season, perhaps swaying the decision of Fowkes to call time at the campaign end.
A man who has instigated the Nottingham Trent University Rugby programme and a pathway into the side for promising young players at NTU, Fowkes stated on his announcement “Leaving the club is a massive decision for me and my family and one that I haven’t taken lightly. However hard the decision has been I feel that the time is right for a new challenge. I know the club is in great hands and will continue to evolve as it moves forward.
He said “The opportunity to be head coach of your boyhood club doesn’t happen to many people and I am immensely proud to have been given the responsibility of leading the club over the last three years and to be a small part of its history.
“Looking back, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every one of my 22 years involved in the senior club, from playing through to coaching. As at any club there have been some ups and downs along the way, going from minutes away from relegation out of the National Leagues in the 2002/2003 season, to promotion the year after is just one of these. I am sure everyone involved during that promotion season will tell you it was one of the most memorable 12 months of their lives.
“There are so many people that have supported me as a player and a coach along the way at the club and to all of them thank you for your time, loyalty, dedication and especially the memories, the club wouldn’t be what it is without the people! I look forward to supporting the club with you all once we can all get back to the Bay.
“My focus is now firmly on the remaining seven games of this season and finishing on a high.”
Fowkes will leave his post at the end of May but until then, it’s business as usual as he prepares his side for the trip to Hartpury this weekend where Nottingham will hope to gain their first win of the season.
*Main image @NottinghamRugby Neil Fowkes has been involved with Nottingham Rugby for 22 years.