Kevin Innalls the head coach at Bridgwater and Albion has endured a pretty tough time since he took over the hot seat at Bath Road just after Christmas 2011, but thankfully over the last couple of months the fortunes of the Club have taken a turn for the better.
After being relegated from National Three South West at the end of last term ‘Bridgy’ kicked off their season South West One West with a home defeat by Cullompton.
They notched up their first success on the road at North Dorset the following week, but then suffered a run of five successive defeats, a sequence that was broken when they beat Thornbury at home on October 20th. Since then Innalls’ boys have won three further games including completing the double over North Dorset, and been somewhat unlucky to miss out in other close results. Just before the break they had climbed out of the relegation zone to occupy 11th place in the table.
Reflecting on the first part of the season the head coach said: “Things are definitely looking up a bit for us, and we are finally getting used to playing some patterns now and the things that we have put into place are beginning to come to fruition.” Innalls who spent many years as a player with Bridgy went on: “Things are looking more stable for us now as a Club which has been helped by us picking up a couple of new players in key positions which has give us a massive boost. We have picked up Christian Preece who is a prop which has meant that our scrum is a lot more stable which gives us a better platform to work from.”
“It has been difficult at the Club and nobody is looking to hide that, but we are trying to put something in place at Bridgwater that is going to stand us in good stead looking towards the future.” Innalls paid tribute to his coaching team: “We have got a really good coaching staff with Darren Crompton and Simon Martin on board and the investment that the Club has made in those two extra coaches is definitely playing dividends now.”
“We have also got quite a lot of young players who were previously in the Second and Third XVs who are now in the First team and you can put that down to some good coaching making the best out of what we have got at the club.”
Reflecting on the results in the first half of the campaign he said: “Of course we have been outgunned a couple of times this season but I look back at some of our earlier games and really we should have won them and I think we have been unlucky at times not to have picked up more victories, especially on the road.”
How hard had Innalls found it during the difficult period he had experienced? “It has been hard at times to keep going during this rough patch but I believe that if you work hard and stick to what you want then you will reap the benefits. Its no good me sitting there moaning and blaming the players, they need the leadership from the top so you just have to work hard and the squad has taken that ethos on board and worked their socks off.”
Innalls added: “We now need to get a good start to the second part of our season and if we can get a few good wins which are five pointers to help us climb further away from the relegation area then we can remain in this league which is what we wanted to achieve this year, just to consolidate and look to build next season.”