BBC commentator Ian Robertson takes centre stage at Holt RFC

BBC rugby commentator Ian Robertson (third from left) and Holt RFC officials with the auctioned suga

BBC rugby commentator Ian Robertson (third from left) and Holt RFC officials with the auctioned sugar beet at the club's annual dinner. For full report turn inside. Picture: Martyn Sloman - Credit: Archant

Ian Robertson, the BBC rugby commentator and broadcaster, was the guest speaker at Holt Rugby Club's annual dinner at Bridge Road.

In an entertaining and amusing presentation he made some serious points about the game across the world.

In particular he spoke of his pride at being the only rugby journalist to have interviewed Nelson Mandela immediately before the 1995 South African victory in the Rugby World Cup.

He described England's Eddie Jones and Ireland's Joe Schmidt as the two outstanding coaches in Northern Hemisphere rugby — and was clearly less impressed with the most recent British Lions' coach Warren Gatland of Wales.

Over 160 people attended the dinner and the supporting speeches by club president Paul Williams and first XV captain Ashley Woods emphasised that Holt as a club is in good shape.

As Woods put it: 'Holt is rebuilding and enjoying success at all levels on the field. Importantly we are inspiring the next generation of young players.'

Paul Williams said that the club was punching above its weight and would continue to do so.

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Following the tradition introduced by past president John Ross, whose son Andrew organised this year's event, there was an auction of a giant sugar beet for club funds. This year the winning bid was £1,300.

The Chum Preston Cup for the biggest contribution on or off the field was awarded to club secretary Joanna Storey.

Amongst many other contributions she has managed the redesign and relaunch of the club's website at

On the pitch Holt will be aiming to make it eight straight wins - with one concession thrown in - when they entertain third from bottom Crusaders in their latest London Three Eastern Counties fixture on Saturday.

Meanwhile UEA student Will Swart is North Walsham Vikings' Chalk Hill Brewery player-of-the-month for October. Head of Rugby James Brooks said of the hooker: 'He's fitted in extremely well since joining us in the summer, improving with every game. His throwing in at the lineouts has been excellent and every match he makes a huge number of tackles.'

Will is from South Africa and has been playing rugby since the age of 11. Equally happy at flanker or hooker he hadn't played for 14 months until joining Walsham.