MARTIN Poste had warned his players before the Cheshire Vase, in the opening season’s fixture that he didn’t want Anselmians to leave Moss Farm with their tails up. And he got his wish. “Northwich were impressive, and convincing, as they demonstrated a growing maturity” he said, reserving a place in the semi-finals, Sandbach away on 02-02-2019.
“As coaches we are aware that players develop at different rates both physically and mentally and can see this first hand as the U18 squad train with the senior squad on a regular basis, as well as communicating with Head Colts Coach Richard Dale, therefore if a player is ready he will be given an opportunity to play at first team level. We have a desire to build on the excellent work carried out by the Youth and Mini section”.
In the first league fixture due to availability & injury the way was paved for Tom Clark, Josh Wilkinson and the returning Mike Gough to step up to the 1st XV v Anselmians. Director of Rugby Martin Poste was again delighted with the performance. New boy Clark was man of the match but this was a team performance and all played their part. “We’ll keep playing our way, to our strengths, there was a solidity too us against Anselmians that was good to see, and that's something that has evolved, and will continue to”. Northwich repeating a victory against the same opponents in the Cheshire Vase a week earlier, only this time without key men Joel Barber, Will Du Randt and Chris James. “We probably went over a psychological barrier,” said the director or rugby. “It makes a big difference when you have guys like that missing – they’re players that put coal on your fire – and yet we’ve still proven we can win a difficult game without them.
MARTIN said he expected Northwich to endure a testing start to the season and predicted a margin between his team and their rivals will continue to be narrow. “I’m looking at how we respond in those situations,” said Poste, prior to Northwich suffering a home defeat after being stifled by Warrington. It’s not easy to knock his Northwich side off course but they managed to, ending a sequence of four successive defeats against Postie’s men. Frustration started to seep into Northwich play as they toiled to find a way back into the game.
A journey to Birkenhead followed, this was not a match for the faint hearted. A true phantasmagoria, a mystery in which no one could possibly predict the outcome. At the end of the contest the travelling support felt sense of déjà vu as they were unable to overturn the BP lead in exactly the same way our previous visit ended last season. “It takes some side to come back from 35-10 at Park and put 24 points on them in the final quarter. The reality is though that this division is more competitive than ever, and we’ll be asked questions every week” Postie
Northwich were in no doubt about the enormity of the challenge at Burnage. It only took one minute for the home side to get on the board. This was a bruising encounter and DoR Martin Poste was proud of his charges in particular the character of the side.
Postie commented “Whilst physically and in particular mentally I feel we are strong, our tactical and technical play was not up to scratch, we have allowed opposition to get the upper hand on us, sometimes gifting points early on and the guys know and have acknowledged that, and as a result we have been working hard in these areas at practice”.
Following three successive defeats, Northwich had never lost four consecutive games under the tenureship of Postie, they reached the end of September when Northwich drew with Blackburn, leaving them a platform on which to build for October. “We knew the fixture list for September looked challenging, and that’s exactly what it’s turned out to be.”
It’s true that Northwich have fallen behind in three of their five league fixtures to date, but the circumstances have been different. Availability and injuries have all played a part in the season’s opening month. Before the season commenced Postie stressed the importance of continuity and says teams will struggle if they have to make five or six changes every week. “At this level if you can keep a settled squad of 22 players you are going to have a chance of doing well”. 26 players have so far been involved in 1st team action including debuts for newcomers Bennett and Ensor. Mike Gough, Chris Bradshaw, Richard Hart and Josh Wilkinson also making their first start of the season. It is difficult to gather stability or gain momentum, when players are occupying unfamiliar positions to cover a missing teammate. Northwich fielded a front row of Adam Bennett, Mike Gough and Chris Bradshaw in their final September fixture. That trio has never previously played together, and the latter isn’t a specialist at prop. And is the fourth front row combination in six games.
Statistics are like bikinis—they show a lot but not everything.
Martin Poste has proven he will put faith in youth after promoting Tom Clark to the first team this season. Another promising colt, Tom Husband, enjoyed a debut to remember playing on the wing and scoring two tries, both of them with impressive composure.
Fans of every club love to see a youngster with promise step up to the first team, and Martin Poste has made no secret of his admiration for the teenagers coming through the club youth academy. His selections during the opening month, has seen subsequent cameos as substitutes in the Cheshire Vase & debut’s in league fixtures., last season saw James Gorman & Ross McGory joining Oli Sorenson, Billy Cole & Matt Watson in the senior teams. They will get more chances, and that’s important – talented colts and juniors need to feel they will be called upon if they have the ability.
Updated 10:35 - 9 Oct 2018 by john Blower
“On another note the players and coaching staff would like to express their thanks to the fantastic support that has been afforded to us from members both home and away, it really does make a difference.”