Head coach Ollie Smith has said that the season opening loss of Bury St Edmunds RUFC was ‘appalling and worrying’, writes Hannah Dolman.
The home side lost 50-17 to National 2 South newcomers Tonbridge Juddians, who were playing their first ever game at this level.
It follows a summer of change at the club, who had nine new players on the team sheet on Saturday, among at least 14 new faces, as well as the new head coach.
He said:“There was nothing about that performance that was close to what we were hoping for.
“No-one deserved a mention, it was an appalling display from us.
“And, from a coaching perspective, it’s already time to worry. We’ve been thumped by a team who have just come up, there’s a fair portion of worry there.
“But now it’s about how we respond to that. It’s sport, these things happen, and losing the first game heavily can go either way.
“I said before the game that I didn’t know where we were and now I do.
“I don’t want to be too hard on them but we need to look long and hard about why it happened.”
Ollie Smith added that they had a good idea of the tactics Tonbridge would employ.
“It shows that tactical nous is secondary to desire, because we knew what they were going to do and still got a thumping,” he said.
“I think we went in to it with an expectation of winning, and it shows what can happen when you take a game too lightly.
“And now we’re at the bottom of the table.
“So it’s a harsh but important lesson for us all and an early wake up call.”
The team travel to Broadstreet RFC in Coventry tomorrow for their next league game (2.30pm).
Meanwhile, the U16 youth team have been enjoying better success, with victory in the Octobus Rugby pre-season tournament for under-16s.
It follows the team retaining the Suffolk Cup for the third consecutive year.
The annual competition, in Uden in the Netherlands, saw eight teams battle it out — with the Wolfpack youths attending for the first time.
They played three teams in their group, winning all three by scores to nil. The final was played on the first team pitch against Utrecht — who have won in previous years.
But Bury stepped up their game, in scorching heat as the mercury rose to nearly 30 degrees Celsius, and took the win by 20-0.
Team captain Jack Bowyer said the win came from the team’s fitness, attributed to Jonathan Derbyshire’s tabata training — a high-intensity interval training workout, featuring exercises that last four minutes.
Coach David Mountford said it had been a fantastic chance to bring the team together pre-season and test themselves.
And Bury touch rugby players Lucy Norburn and Megan Green also brought gold home in the Women’s Open at the 2017 Ryvita Touch Nationals, following a good show at the Junior Touch competitions.
In further club news, it is hoped the new covered stand will be completed by the first team’s next home match against Old Redcliffians on September 16. The stand will be in addition to the new CMC pitch-side bar which was opened last week.