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Geoff Says

| 30/12/2019
With the competitive season at the half way stage, Geoff Sluman the director of rugby at Bridgwater and Albion shared his thoughts on how the team has performed so far in the 2019-20 campaign.
“How do you think the team are doing?” is a question that I am sometimes asked, which is quite a difficult one to sum up in a few words.
“Of course the first team is the shop window for the club but I am always quick to point out that the club is about more than the first team. We have our Second team, our Ladies team and a booming Youth section too.”
After just over half the league matches the first team has played 13 of the 24 league matches. We sit in seventh place in South West One (West) having won seven and lost six, and if you include the cup game we have won eight, so we are on the right side of where we want to be.
“The half-way point last season was 13 games but because St Ives have sadly disbanded during the season we will play less games this year, so do we compare our performance at the half way point or after 12 or 13 games – briefly we do both.
“Last season, after 13 games we had earned 38 league points, this season we have earned 36 league points. After 12 games last season we were on 33 points with this season on 32 points. On the face of it you would say we are slightly behind, by one or two points, but that ignores some key facts.
“The league is definitely more competitive this year so to be on roughly the same points in a more competitive league is doing OK.
“Last season also saw the introduction of our new coaching team and some believe that there is a bit of a boost by doing that so again if we are roughly in the same position without that then we are doing OK. I have said OK and not good because we do not look to pluck comfort out of the statistics.
“We also have to conclude we have not yet achieved one of our two main objectives which is to be more consistent in our performances. We have had glimpses of success but have not yet achieved what we wanted to.
“Where it has worked has been in our defensive performances but we have had some inconsistent attacking displays meaning we have lost some games that we really should have won. So still plenty to work on and more we can do to improve.”
The director of rugby continued: “Another pleasing aspect and a vitally important one in achieving more consistency is to develop the depth of the squad.
“Again we have worked on a good mixture of activity for that in having some young but experienced players achieve some milestones in terms of First XV appearances. Ryan Barnett and Will Monro have achieved 50 appearances each. In the first game of the season George Sluman achieved 75 appearances, shortly followed on 75 by Lewis Phillips. Tom Fournier d’Able and Ethan Trebble-Westlake have both achieved 100 first team appearances. This is in addition to Stuart Heal on 150, Matt Ranson with 225 and of course Dan Kemmish achieving over 400 first team appearances.
“Additionally we have had good players making their First XV debuts in the first half of the season with Tom Hopkins, Simon Honey, Tim Blades, Oskar White, Graham Slorance, Eoghan Westhaff, Dylan Evans and Dom Thorne all starting for the first time.
“We know it is the right thing to continue to develop the guys that have been with us for a while whilst introducing some new talent to the group too.
“I mentioned earlier that we had not quite achieved one of our two main objectives and our second main objective was to develop our Second XV. I am a strong believer that to have a successful First XV you need a successful Second XV.
“I am pleased to say the “Two’s” have enjoyed a successful first half of the season currently occupying second position in Tribute Somerset One League. Any of the guys playing in the Two’s are capable of playing for the First XV and doing very well too.
“Our Ladies team is developing at tremendous pace and they just enjoy what they do so much – if any Ladies need any help in wanting to have some exercise and a cracking good time then come along and join in.
“The youth section just continues to do amazingly well, the enthusiasm of the children is only matched by the energy of the volunteer helpers who control over 200 children every Sunday morning.”
Geoff also talked about the success of the club off the pitch.
“Off the pitch, which is a vitally important area for the club, we have not been standing still either with refurbished club house and newly decorated bars, existing sponsor numbers have been bolstered by some returning sponsors and some new sponsors too. We thank them all for their support and encourage you to please use the services of our sponsors where you can. We have also restructured our committees, which had not been reviewed for many years so that it now better reflects the needs of the club going into 2020.”
Geoff added: “To sum up things on the pitch, First XV performances are encouraging with the Second XV developing well too. Our players are gaining experience and we are introducing new talent to the group. All of the players are tremendously keen to improve and have developed a great ethic; we are all really looking forward to 2020.”

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Category: Previews / Reports -XV

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