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Rugby’s local derby curtain raiser

Created on 02/09/2010 @ 06:29
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Local pride and bragging rights are up for grabs on Saturday when the new rugby season explodes into action with a derby duel between Welshpool and COBRA.
The long hard road back to fitness through the summer months is over as the two local heavyweights look to launch their North Division 2 seasons on the right foot.
COBRA completed a comfortable double over Welshpool last season and will go into Saturday’s encounter as strong favourites, but head coach James Watkins will ensure his side is prepared both mentally and physically.
“It was a bit of a stop-start season really for us last year,” said Watkins who will promote up to four players from the youth set-up this season. “First there were the autumn internationals and then the problems with the weather. By the time we got a good string of games in April it clashed with farming commitments so there was no consistency.
“Saturday will be a big game to start with for us but we will be treating it like the rest this season. There is a small margin between the top five or six sides so we will be looking to start with a win although I don’t expect it to be easy because they have re-organised a bit in the summer.”
That Welshpool re-organisation has seen singer Dai Roberts call the tune at pre-season training in his new role as assistant coach, while Peter Davies will also support head coach Frank Johns.
Also relying on youth to step up to the plate, Welshpool will be fielding a weakened side due to injury and unavailability this weekend but will be hoping for an improved performance on last season when they finished last in the table.
“We are hopeful of putting out a strong side this weekend despite the problems,” said Roberts. “The club is feeling enthusiastic for the new season and we are very hopeful for a much better season, starting Saturday.”
Davies has been concentrating on the pack and has been described as “excellent” by Roberts .
COBRA Barn Dance
Prior to Saturday’s match, COBRA’s players will be on duty as stewards for a fund-raising Barn Dance on Friday night. Starting at 9pm, the event takes place at Domen Farm, Llanfechain and will feature both a band and disco.
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