Edison to help drive Stow forward at higher level
On the eve of the start of a new season at a higher level for Stowmarket Rugby Club, the message will be just the same: Continue to entertain.
The club enjoyed their most successful ever season last year, winning the newly-formed London 3 Eastern Counties Division to attain promotion to London 2 North East, while also triumphing in the Suffolk Chadacre Cup.
Head coach John Holton, who masterminded that league and cup double in his first season at Chilton Fields, said it will be almost the same side that takes to the field at fellow promoted club Southwold on Saturday (3pm) that would have faced them last term.
One notable change, though, which has been brought about as much to have benefits off the pitch as on it, is the addition of Norway international and former Bury St Edmunds number 8 Matt Edison.
The player, who took Bury up the leagues after a spell at Cambridge, will provide some much-needed know-how, having been a regular for Bury four levels higher up the pyramid.
“He will be helping with coaching and will also play,” said Holt, a former director of sport at St George’s College who has also coached in Argentina.
“He has settled in really well coaching-wise which is great as well.”
After four years as captain, highly-regarded scrum-half Joe Fifield, better known as ‘Fifi’ has handed the armband over to hooker Jake Squrriell, who was named Players’ Player and Spectators’ Player of the Year last season.
Admitting he does not yet know the league well enough to guage where they can aspire to finish this season, Holt said the performance levels and style are where their targets have been set.
“Our ambition is to continue to play the exciting brand of rugby we did last year,” he said.
“Not only did we win games but we played some rugby the players enjoyed playing and the spectators enjoyed watching.
“The team’s ambitions will be about performances rather than results.”
He said pre-season had gone well as the club hosted a round-robin tournament, which Sudbury won, before losing to the newly-promoted London 1 North side in an away fixture 29-0.
The club’s first home game at the new level sees Ipswich visit a week on Saturday in a local derby (3pm), with Norwich also in their league.