“Our general resolve and determination to win, and the fact that we didn’t panic when the momentum shifted, was really pleasing. ”
ANOTHER away trip saw yet another historic victory for Bishop’s Stortford, edging out Birmingham Moseley by two points.
First XV flanker Dan Elsom sat down with the club’s Director of Rugby, Andy Long, to discuss the win and the club increasing their presence in the town.
DE: To beat a team that was relegated from the RFU Championship just two years ago, it certainly makes a statement in this league. What does the win mean to the club?
AL: It is a scalp, sure, but we need to focus on this year rather than where the clubs have been placed in the past. They were a good side with some strengths, but we put them under quite a lot of pressure. They are a changed team from when they were in the Championship and are a team in transition just like we are. We are starting to work out where we all fit in the league now, and we know that there isn’t going to be much difference between the side that finishes fifth and the side that finishes 12th. Now we have secured sixth place, we need to try to hold on to that and see if we can kick on to catch Ampthill in fifth.
DE: What positives do you think the side will take out of the win?
AL: I was happy with our attitude and physicality, especially in defence. They had some decent ball runners and played the conditions well, but our defence shocked them a little bit. Just our general hustle was pleasing - we put them under pressure and rushed them a lot. Clearly the yellow card was a big moment in the game, and it cost us about 17 points in the end. But the boys reacted well to it and were very courageous in managing to get the final try then defend strongly for the last five minutes on our line. Our general resolve and determination to win, and the fact that we didn’t panic when the momentum shifted, was really pleasing.
DE: The side showed their typical grind in defence once again to seal the victory. That’s becoming characteristic of the team, to be able to pull themselves out of those tough positions.
AL: Sometimes we wish we hadn’t put ourselves in those positions, but when we have been in them we have really showed our composure. We also showed our strength off the bench. The guys that came on really made a difference and lifted the intensity towards the end. It changed the whole structure of the game in a crucial period, and showed that Saturday really was a 20-man effort.
DE: Looking ahead to Old Albanians. What do you think will be their main threat?
AL: Compared to quite a poor start they have actually turned some decent results around and come away with points recently. They play with a kind of freedom, and if we go out and allow them to dominate possession and momentum, then they are a side that can really score points and hurt us. We are going to have to be at our best, and we are going to have to make sure we put in more of a performance than we have when we last played at home – we need to take some of our away form into our home form. We need to be devastating with our forward pack again this week, and not afraid to play a forward-dominant game.
DE: The club is currently partnering with a number of local businesses in the area. What are they looking to do by joining forces with home-grown businesses?
AL: Over the last four years we have been on a real journey as a club with sponsors to build our network around the town. I think these partnerships are just another step forward in terms of linking with the high street and making sure our presence throughout the whole of the town is continued. It’s about getting more people up to watch rugby on a Saturday, and about people going into a store and seeing an affiliation with the rugby club. As we stand as the prominent sporting team in the town, and probably the wider area of Hertfordshire, businesses want to be associated with that. It’s the next step for us in our journey in joining up all of the dots around town, with the rugby club being at the heart of it.
Bishop's Stortford will host OA's this Saturday 28th October, kicking off at 3pm.
CLICK HERE to see highlights of Saturday's win at our YouTube Channel
Updated 21:09 - 3 Nov 2017 by Perry Oliver