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A word with Andy Dowdall

1 year ago By Thomas Anderson

We sat down with Andy Dowdall to look back on his time at Burnage RFC, ahead of his final game tomorrow before his move to New Zealand.

There will be a lot of different personal emotions for you on Sunday, for those people who don’t know, what does your move to New Zealand involve?

I have been trying to go out there for a couple of years now and move away. I went there on holiday and absolutely loved it; we have friends out there and have been convinced to try it out. I’m going with my girlfriend and we move there on June 24th with a 2 year visa. We will go out there and travel for a bit and then end up in Wellington where are friends are before setting up a little home there for the 18 months.

You have played for Burnage since the age of 4, how special will it be to play your final game for the club in a final?

It’s going to be really good and I am looking forward to it. I have never really played in a final so it will be a nice way to end time playing for a while with the club and it will be nice to play with the some of the players who I have played with since a young age in such a big match. It would be great to win as I have never won a cup and to win it with my local club who I have been with for so long will be a great.

Do you focus on the opposition at all going into a game?

We hear little things here through the season but I wouldn’t look every single week to see how the teams are doing. I would only hear things people say at the club to get an understanding on where they are in the league but I don’t personally spend time checking how the opposing teams are doing. Sam would be the person who may check on the opposition but then we may know some of their players from when we were younger. Therefore we could know a few things which we can prepare for as players ourselves but we would let the coaches plan the bigger things for the game.

What has it been like playing for Burnage throughout the different age groups?

It has been great fun here at Burnage and I have absolutely loved the place ever since I was a kid. It is a great place to be around; it’s both sociable and enjoyable which is everything you would want in a rugby club. I have had a couple of tough times here with relegations but then I have had some great times like being part of the promotion team. I really have had a fantastic time.

There is a real buzz around the club for this game, what does being in this final mean to both the players and supporters?

Everyone seems to be really positive around the club which has created a nice vibe and atmosphere. I don’t think any of the players can wait till Sunday afternoon when they enter the pitch and we are confident that we can win. It’s always nice to see people turn up on a sunny day to support us on the touchline. As a winger I enjoy hearing them having fun with the opposition and the loud cheers when you score . It was great to see them in Warrington in the semi-final and I have no doubt they will come out in their numbers for the final and it will be a great occasion to share with them.

You have played with lots of your teammates since you were young, what has it been like sharing special rugby moments with them?

These are the guys that I hang around with at the weekend, the guys I went to school with and the guys who I go on night outs with. It’s nice to have that sort of bond. I think the fact that we are all quite close teammates makes you play better on match days.

What’s been your best personal moment on and off the pitch with the club?

On the pitch together would be the second season we had in the National League where we finished 4th which was a fantastic achievement. Then off the field I think it’s just nice to be around the older lads who have got married which means good stag do’s! It’s fun when we go on long weekends as there is a big contingency form the club who come away which always makes it good fun.

What has Sam Jennings been like as a coach this season?

It’s good as he is really interesting. At the start of the season everyone was wondering how it would work out because of his relationship he already had with us from when he was playing. I have always looked up to him as a player as he was always a few years ahead of me in the younger age groups. He teaches valuable things on the pitch and when he became our coach the dynamics had to change slightly. I think Sam has a strong relationship with the team which is important as it means he can get his things across and he knows exactly what information he needs to pass onto us from when he has played. Everyone likes and respects him down here, a final in his first season and it’s been very good playing under him.

Finally, how has this season gone in your perspective?

Overall not too bad. It would have been nice to finish a bit higher in the table as at the start of the season we were hoping to challenge for one of the promotion places. However, as the season went on and we realised that we would not be able to make the promotion places which then allowed us to focus on the cup more. If we got the win in the final then I think the season would be classed as successful.

Where next?

Lancashire Trophy Champions!!! Two late tries gave Burnage a 33-13 victory against Broughton Park in the Brian Leigh Lancashire Trophy Final last Sunday in Leigh.
Q&A with Sam Jennings Our third interview this week is a Q&A with our first team coach Sam Jennings.


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