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Geoff’s Half Way Thoughts

| 26/12/2017

With half the season now gone Geoff Sluman the Bridgwater and Albion Director of Rugby shared his thoughts on the first half of the season.

“I would like to start in a place not many may expect because I think one of the things Bridgwater & Albion RFC can be most proud of is the progress of our girls’ teams. We have Under 15 and Under 18 age groups who have both made tremendous progress.

“It is the fastest growing section of the club and the players, and the coaches and support volunteers have every right to be proud of what they have achieved.

“This is closely followed by the youth section as a whole. We have a thriving youth section that always represents our club with pride, all of the support volunteers who help make a tremendous difference. People often talk about new players but on several occasions this season, we have had at least 10 players starting for the First XV who have played for our youth teams.

“Indeed,our first team captain Ollie Dunn and vice-captain Stu Heal both came through many of our youth age groups. Other players who have represented our youth section and the First XV this season include current chair of youth section Matt Ranson and players Ethan Trebble-Westlake, George Sluman, Rob Thompson, Gav Knight, Tom Lewis, Tom Fournier d’Able, Nik Bradley, Ryan Barnett, Jay Owens, Lewis Plece, Dan Lang and John Hill.

“There are others who are likely to feature for the first team when recovered from injury such as Taylor Buller, Will Kerry and Jordan Buller, so all of the players in our youth section should know they have tremendous opportunities available to them.”

Geoff Sluman then turned his attention to the senior sides.

“This season I think we can be fairly satisfied with our progress for both the First and Second teams. Competitive sport is often not straight forward and you rarely have everything going your way.

“For the First XV there have been some disappointing results where we had hoped for better but the reverse has also been true where we have put in some brilliant performances and won games some would not have expected.

“I have mentioned our former youth players above but we have also enjoyed many new players joining who have bought into what we are trying to do and what the club stands for, and that diversity of existing and new players has also strengthened us.

He went on: “Quite early in the season, we adapted our game and changed our “pod” systems and some responsibilities for some players. When playing competitive league rugby, significant changes often take some bedding in and game by game our understanding has improved.

“All the players work incredibly hard and their commitment to improve is clear to see; it is a privilege to spend time with them. For the First XV, the league is far more competitive than it has been in recent years.

“The team that was relegated from the league above at the end of last season was Launceston, who quite recently were playing National Division rugby. The teams that were promoted from the league below are also really strong: Keynsham, who are sitting comfortably mid table in seventh place and Exeter University who are run away league leaders, having lost only once in the league so far.

“We have played five of the top six sides away from home in the first half of the season, so whilst the second half certainly will not be easy having the tough games on our pitch, our systems becoming more embedded and our developing players gaining more and more experience should put us in good shape.

“Reflecting on our developing players gaining experience, this has at times been at the expense of our Second XV who have had a difficult first half of the season. Playing in Somerset Premier League, they do compete against many first teams who obviously do not have the same issues of players being promoted to another side – there are hopefully good things ahead for our second XV. Our third XV has also demonstrated tremendous commitment and enthusiasm and that is a great pathway from youth to senior sides.”

The Director of Rugby concluded: “I am most definitely very proud of all of our players, they are all keen to develop and improve and have shown great commitment to Bridgwater and Albion RFC.

He added: “Please come along and support all of our teams. On behalf of the Bridgwater and Albion RFC, I would like to wish all of our players, sponsors, volunteers, supporters and staff a very Happy New Year.”

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Category: Previews / Reports -XV

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