Stowmarket Rugby Club head coach reflects on positive 2019/20 season
Matt Edison believes there were lots of positives from Stowmarket’s 2019/20 campaign to build upon, despite the first team finishing further down their league table.
In what was the ex-Bury St Edmunds captain’s first season as player-head coach, having joined the previous summer as a player-coach,the number 8 had Stow in fifth place when the season was prematurely halted in mid-March.
The coronavirus pandemic saw the RFU calculate the final tables on a win percentage formula which saw the Chilton Fields-based outfit leapfrogged by Diss, who had a game in hand.
Their sixth place spot in London 2 North East, having not got to play out their remaining five games, came after their first ever campaign at that level had seen them finish third.
But Edison, who has represented Norway at international level and brought former Bury team-mate Chris Snelling in as his assistant and touchline co-ordinator last summer, saw plenty of progress at the club.
“I think overall the season was a success for us,” he said.
“We used over 40 players in our first team and for me as a coach that is a highlight that we had not only that many boys available to play but that many boys that were able to step up to the standard.
“Also the second team winning their league that they were in in the second half of the year has been brilliant as well.
“So I think overall, although we finished in a lower position in the league as a first team, as a season it was a massively successful season as a club.”
Having won their last three matches before the season was halted, Edison feels they would have improved on the RFU’s projection.
“We were finishing the season pretty strong,” he said.
“We started off with a lot of availability issues with our key players. We lost our top two try-scorers at the end of the year for work, so it took us up until Christmas to gather ourselves and put some performances in.
“But we were definitely coming into our own in the second half of the year.”
He added: “We had the season before where we had that novelty shock factor. We didn’t know what to expect so we just played and ended up finishing third.
“And then this year, with the couple of teams that came down into the league and went up into it I think it made it stronger.
“We were probably a bit complacent at the beginning of the year but rest assured that will not be the same next year.
“We are already starting our preparations for when the leagues do reopen.”
He is confident the squad can be retained for next season as well as attracting news players.
Having Snelling alongside him as well as ex-head coach John Holton moving into a director of rugby role and a supportive committee had helped progress the club, he added.
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