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Chris Snelling becomes assistant at Stowmarket Rugby Club to help promotion aims

Stowmarket Rugby’s player-coach Matt Edison has revealed his decision to bring former Bury St Edmunds favourite Chris Snelling into the fold is to help the club towards its promotion ambitions.

The two former playing colleagues are at the helm of the London 2 North East side, and they got this promotion aim off to the best of starts on Saturday, with a six-try 41-12 home win over Epping Upper Clapton in their first fixture of the season.

Both competed for most of their playing careers at National League 2 South – three levels above Stowmarket’s in the league structure – and Edison believes this could help the club to reach the heights of national league status one day.

Stow market Rugby Club..Picture: Head Coach Matt Edison and Assistant Chris Snelling....PICTURE: Mecha Morton ... (16661919)
Stow market Rugby Club..Picture: Head Coach Matt Edison and Assistant Chris Snelling....PICTURE: Mecha Morton ... (16661919)

The club narrowly missed out on a shot at back-to-back promotions as they finished third, just two points off a play-off place, last season and the hope is to improve on this.

Edison said the experience assistant coach Snelling – who was forced to retire a year ago at 28-years-old due to a serious back injury – can provide will be invaluable to the club ‘taking its next steps’.

“The aim is to improve on last year,” Edison said. “Whether that is in performance, results, league position, or something else, as long as we feel we have gotten better.

“Chris and I are very good friends and have played together for most of our playing time, so I gave him a ring to see if he wanted to get back involved and help the team with his experience.

“I see us as here to assist a club already well on its way, we are not here to change everything; it’s a great club with a great social aspect and love of the game, we think we can help boost that a little and help the club take its next steps.”

Stowmarket are away to Saffron Walden this Saturday (3pm) and will be looking for another five-point win.

Edison added: “I know the team and what to expect from them, and I know that we can’t underestimate them. But we are a good side and, with the weather set to be sunny, that should play into our hands again as we like our running rugby.”

Stowmarket put on a display of running rugby against Epping with six tries securing a winning league bonus point. Stow dominated the scrum and found gaps in the midfield defence early on, with tries coming from Brad Durrant and Dotun Ogunkeyede.

Epping, who are new to the level after promotion, struggled with the pace of their hosts and conceded further tries, scored by Joe Lancaster, Durrant and two more from Ogunkeyede. Four of the tries were converted.

Epping scored their first points with a fine try following good forward work and backed it up with a second, converted, score as they dominated the latter stages.

But a final penalty from Dan Garrard completed the 41-12 win.

* Meanwhile, in Eastern Counties Greene King 1 South, Stowmarket II won their opening match, an 18-15 away win at Ipswich II. They host Hadleigh on Saturday (3pm).

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