We have been fairly tight lipped throughout our preseason, using the opportunity not just to build skills and fitness but also to assess the strength and talent we have at the club. Preseason has been awesome, with great numbers and attitudes at training right from word go, back in June. But training hasn’t been consigned to the rugby pitch and players put in some real graft in the gym, out on the road, cycling, hiking, mountaineering and all sorts. Summer holidays have not stopped the players from developing their fitness! The players have been super busy getting ready for the 2019-2020 season, motivating themselves well on and off the pitch, and it looks like this season is going to be an absolute cracker!
Josh Smith has led the charge with particularly impressive dedication, along with Will Pearson, Dave Cramphorn, Jacob Bailey and new signing Jack Pearce pushing hard at their weekly strength & conditioning sessions at Powering Through Performance on Wednesday nights. Under the guidance of coaches Will Wayland and Iain Couling, this group have taken their training to new levels. The programme has developed their strength and fitness with a specific focus on strength and explosive power on the pitch, but they have also done some work on injury preventative conditioning work, which we hope to see the benefits of this season.
A great plus has been the signing of several new players for the club over the summer and these new recruits are seriously upsetting the status quo within the squad. Competition for places has never been so hot, with genuine pressure for players to bring their A game at every training session and during the warm up games.
Front rower, Kieran Reeve has re-joined the club, having played for Chelmsford as a youth player. Kieran is a tough competitor and brings genuine athleticism to our front row options going into the season.
Tight head prop, Ashley Browne, joins the Blue Boys from Billericay and brings some serious scrummaging power along with strong, direct ball carrying. Despite being a newcomer, he has absolutely bought into the preseason fitness element and has been a strong participant in this preseason.
Second row, Jack Pearce joins us from Brentwood and has a wealth of solid Rugby experience, having also played for Barking and Rochford previously, all three being clubs with strong senior men’s teams. Jack’s lineout prowess and mobility in the loose are a real plus for the squad.
Open side flanker, Marc Pluck, joins after a couple of seasons away from Rugby, having previously played for Brentwood RFC. Despite this break from the game his enthusiasm, competitiveness and powerful ball carrying have really shaken things up. Pluck is another newcomer who has absolutely bought into the “one club” mentality. He has not only trained and played with the Blue Boys during preseason but he has taken preseason fitness work seriously and has also made himself part of the social culture at the club. This is always a positive as, although players are in direct competition for 1st team places, a strong social bond is great for how cohesive a unit the squad is.
Scrum half, Tom Basset, adds to our strength in this position. He is quick around the ruck, very solid defensively and has a mean box kick on him. Another nice headache for the DOR.
Inside centre, George Murtha, the youngest of our signings and another returning youth player, has had a big impact in the short time he has been with the club. Playing in all warm-up fixtures, he has impressed with his powerful tackling and ability to run a sharp line in to a gap.
Outside Centre, Ash Toomey, whilst not strictly a new signing, joins his brother Ross at the club, unable to commit fully last season due to other sporting commitments. Ash is a strong ball carrier and a difficult man to stop. He adds to our strength of options at centre, which looks like it will be hotly contested at both 12 & 13 this season.
Winger\fullback, Ryan Ashworth, joined us towards the end of preseason but his existing and impressive capabilities saw him straight in to the warm up fixture squads. Ryan is brave under the high ball and has the fleet of foot to get himself out of a tight spot, as well as having a decent turn of pace.
All in all, preseason 2019 has been excellent. With a new coaching team in place, several new signings, along with players returning from University and most importantly a whole squad of players chomping at the bit to play Rugby for Chelmsford it bodes well for the season ahead.
The BLUEBOYS B XV have a preseason fixture at home on Saturday 7th September, whilst the BLUEBOYS XV have their first game on 14th September, away to King’s Cross Steelers.