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Bouncing back

Created on 28/03/2018 @ 10:57
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One of the big local sports stories of the winter has been the change in fortunes for Welshpool’s senior rugby team.

It was looking pretty miserable at Christmas. The lads had lost their winning touch and relegation from Division Two was looking likely as heads were down and hope was becoming lost.

But rather than feel sorry for themselves, the young coaching team decided to carry out some long, hard soul searching involving everyone at the club, and it seems to have worked!

“We’ve seen a great turn around in our fortunes since the new year and it’s no coincidence that this success has followed a real commitment from the players,” said coach, Dave Roberts.

“We held a workshop after Christmas to try and help the boys reconnect with why they give up their Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for the club, or in some cases, why they don’t.

“It was a chance for the boys to air frustrations but more importantly for them to make a commitment to improvement. The players identified the need to be fitter and have now committed to fitness challenges outside of training.”

Some of the players have shed three stones or more in weight and the results have improved with the team now comfortably above the bottom two and virtually assured of Division Two rugby next year.

Last weekend they lost to promotion candidates Shotton Steel 43-19, but it was a big improvement on the thrashing they were given earlier in the season.

The buzz has been felt through the community with more players committing to training and crowds improving at the home matches.

Fellow coach Daley Jones added: “We have also seen a dramatic increase in numbers. From struggling to get 15 to go away to Denbigh before Christmas we are now seeing 30 at training most Thursdays and new faces most weeks.

“We are leaving up to 10 regularly training players out of match day squads which has now seen a new enthusiasm for resurrecting our 2nd team. We recently beat Bangor in the league, a team that had put 74 points on us earlier in the year. We have also had wins against Llangollen and Rhyl since Christmas as well as a dramatic last kick loss to Newtown in the cup. The players have also taken responsibility for some training sessions.

“We are under no illusion that things won’t continue to be tough in our first season in Division 2 for a number of years, however, we do share an unwavering belief that if we continue to foster a player-centred environment then we will have many more good days than bad days. We’re really excited to see what we can do next season after a good preseason.”

The club as a whole has enjoyed a healthy season. The women are enjoying considerable success in their first season in the new league, while members of both men’s and women’s sections have delivered training sessions at Welshpool High School.

Recently, the senior players, along with some of the club sponsors, raised funds to send the High School U13 boys to their Welsh cup tie.

“It is this sort of community spirited club that we wish to be renowned for,” added Roberts. “We undertake a number of charity events throughout the year and our Ladies day will be another before the end of the season.

“I would encourage any player, parent or child, supporter or volunteer to come along and be a part of our great game in their local club.”

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