SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager
SCRFC Pre-season activities & reflections:
As Sutton Coldfield RFC prepare for the start of their new Midlands 1 West league campaign at RFU level 6 this weekend the team and their supporters can reflect on the teams dramatic return to top form in the final third of last season. Having languished deep in the relegation zone during a troubled injury hit early season and after losing all four games in January 2018 Sutton found themselves bottom of the table with just 9 games to play to the end of the season; all seemed lost but spirited Sutton did not despair...and inspired & guided by head coach Joe Gavin and his erstwhile assistants Sutton turned their season around starting with a home win on Sat 3rd Feb 2018 when they defeated Rugby Lions 43-17 to start a winning sequence which enabled the talented and spirited Sutton side to save their season by winning 7 of their last 9 league games from the end of January 2018 to the last game on Sat 21st April, lifting them out of the relegation zone and to safety at the end of a dramatic season.
In addition to the 7 victories, in 6 of them Sutton scored 4 tries gaining a valuable try scoring bonus point from each game giving them 34 points from their last 9 games, lifting them from bottom of the table of 14 teams to finish in a respectable 10th place.
The feel good factor after the dramatic finish to the season continued into the summer training camps, which were well attended and produced some very effective fitness and skills learning/development programmes and activities under the excellent supervision of Head Coach Joe Gavin along with deputy head coach and backs coach Sandy O'Hare plus forwards coach Gregg Henderson and long serving Dean Harper, great work has been done over an enjoyable summer.
During the summer months Sutton were able to retain all their key players from the previous season plus they recruited some talented young players along with introducing some new muscle into the pack with notably the return of Jack Ward and Lewis Snowden both re-signing for Sutton this season and powerful prop Liam Hills is now fully reinstated as a Sutton player after appearing for Sutton on loan from Leicester Lions for the final part of last season to help solve the serious front row injury crisis the club suffered during the troubled season...and alongside Liam Hills in the front row is club captain and inspirational prop Sean Harrison, who is fully fit again and ready to lead the team from the front row (of the grid) at the start of the new (Grand Prix) season; with the successful/experienced centre pairing of Jack Duthie at 12 and Paul Spiby at 13 ready to resume their very successful partnership on the field once Jack has recovered from a niggle picked up in training. Paul and Jack along with no8 Luke Stewart, voted Sutton player of the year, were all major players in the winning run, which led to a successful end to the season...so all looks set for the team to carry on where they left off at the end of last season.
The recent preseason preparations have also gone well with Sutton taking on Syston RFC, who won promotion into National League 3 from Midlands 1 East by beating Dudley Kingswinford from Midlands 1 West in a very close play-off contest at the end of last season.
The Syston side are led by long serving ex Sutton player and then player coach Alex White, who left Sutton when he moved house to live in the East Midlands and we congratulate Alex on winning promotion in his first full season as player coach and we wish Syston well in the National Leagues, which is where Sutton were just a few seasons ago. The preseason friendly was played under floodlights at the RSG on Friday 17th Aug and although the scoreboard favoured the visitors the game was a good workout for both sides and Sutton did well against an inform side. Unfortunately Sutton were due to play another floodlit friendly fixture the following week on Friday 24th Aug which was against Coalville RFC and would have provided a better measure of Sutton's preparations as Coalville play at an equivalent level to Sutton, in Midlands 1 East and are run by another ex Sutton player/coach Ben Toft...but unfortunately the intended visitors cried off on the morning of the match denying Sutton a valuable run out just one week before they face Dudley Kingswinford RFC in the opening game of the new season to be played at the RSG on Saturday 1st Sept 2018, KO 3pm. All supporters and spectators, who enjoy an entertaining and competitive contest will be warmly welcomed at Walmley Road.
After their success last season by winning all their games in their first full season of 'league' rugby and gaining outright promotion, the Sutton Women's team have moved to a higher league this season and they start their new campaign soon, with their first outing in their new league falling on Sunday 9th Sept against Five Ways Ladies.
Under the expert guidance of Nathan Burchell, backs coach and George Ord, forwards coach... and led by player coach Charlie Bryne the women have trained hard all summer taking full advantage of the good weather to hone their skills and fitness whilst attracting many new players swelling their numbers to the point that this season the club is hoping to field a second team as a development side to support the high achieving first team squad.
So anyone interested in joining this growing group of happy and fulfilled sports women, who train on Tuesday evenings at the RSG starting at 6.30pm will be made most welcome - just turn up or speak to anyone at the club. Men with energetic wives and/or girlfriends or daughters may be interested in pushing them towards SCRFC Women's Rugby, which is gaining growing acclaim.
This weekend Sutton 1st XV extend a warm welcome to the players, committee and supporters of Dudley Kingswinford RFC to the RSG, Walmley Road to continue our long established sporting rivalry in the opening game of the new M1W league campaign and although DK had the better of SCRFC in the two league games played in the early part of last season, Sutton will be looking to continue the winning run and top form they found towards the end of last season. On this basis it should be a good contest. KO 3pm
A HAPPY NEW SEASON to all, friend & foe alike.
SCRFC 1st XV Team Manager