Today gives me the opportunity to welcome a new club to the Woodlands, and I look forward to meeting the coaches and players from Old Elthamians. OE’s surprised many Northerners at the end of last season by beating Sale FC in the play off to gain promotion to National 1. For those who took notice of their away form leading into that playoff game, they built a great habit of winning on the road, winning 14 games away from home last season. This is certainly something my team need to be wary of today.
The first two weeks of the season have brought the expected ups and downs that you would associate with being involved in a rugby club, but our biggest challenge in the coming weeks will be to continue the good worked started by our club captain, Greg Nicholls, who suffered a serious knee injury last week. Not many players can come off the pitch and diagnose their own injuries, but as a qualified surgeon I have to trust his opinion that we have potentially seen the last of him in a playing shirt for the 1st team. Greg will continue to stay close to the squad and help to support the team throughout the season, and I look forward to using his experience in a coaching capacity when he is ready. This leads to the promotion of Adam Lewis to 1st Team Captain, who will have the full support of the coaching and playing staff as we move forward.
As far as results go, I would clearly be happier if we had come out of our first two games with at least a win. But as I said after last week’s match, there are still 140 league points to play for and we will do our upmost to bring home as many of those as possible. The team have played some excellent rugby for periods in both games, but we have made too many errors by our own standards and can’t expect to win games at this level if that continues. The lads have been working hard to put those things right in training and I am sure you will see a reaction from them at home today.
Enjoy the game!