However, improving momentum during the tail end of last year with the inclusion of several Colts players making the step up to senior rugby and the return of some key players back from injury and those coming back to Raleigh Park lead on to two very encouraging pre-season games against a Sidmouth Club XV and then a convincing 52-0 win over Crediton 2nd XV two weeks ago. Speaking after the game, Withies Head Coach, Sam Williams said “The atmosphere in the group was spot on and a real sense of enjoyment in working for each other is shining through”.
With two good games under their belt, including that first win in 11 months, the boys will be looking to make a good first impression in the new league, setting a good standard of flowing rugby and keeping that confidence that has built up in the Withy camp over the last few weeks. This will hopefully be converted into points and ultimately many wins this year.
On to this week though, as the boys in green and black make the journey down to the edge of Dartmoor to Buckfastleigh to take on Buckfastleigh Ramblers. This is the first ever league encounter between the two sides with the last meeting being in the 1940s/1950s.
With neither side aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we shall be sure to see a great game of competitive rugby from both sides and hopefully a try or two for our lads.
We caught up with Head Coach, Sam and asked him his thoughts ahead of the game. He said “While last week saw the start of the season for most sides, we have had to wait until this Saturday to get going - and I personally can't wait. Selection headaches were a factor last year and generally only being able to pull together a bare team of 15 players...
This week I am confident we will travel with a squad of 20, all of whom have been training together throughout pre-season.
Whilst pre-season performances have been largely positive we talked this week about the need to be hard on ourselves in terms of standards and application, knowing that a big win in August doesn't count for much in May. We have a challenging group of games to begin the season but this is ideal in terms of seeing where we are, and I feel confident that if we stick to our processes then good things can happen.”
Saturday's game kicks off at 3pm at the Buckfastleigh Sports Centre. We hope to see as many of you there to be that "16th Man" and support the boys. For those that cannot be there, you can follow live match updates online at http://bit.ly/BMSWIT or via the Pitchero App.