As pre-season kicks off, Cinderford RFC is upbeat about its readiness for its seventh season in National 1 League and has announced 10 new signings to the First XV and United squad for 2014/2015. Targeting a top tier finish this year after ending last season in 11th place, the Foresters are looking forward to an even tougher and more competitive league.
Cinderford is building on strength and is pleased that a significant number of players have renewed their contracts showing how popular the seasoned National 1 club is in the county. Commenting on how the squad is taking shape, Andy Deacon, professional rugby manager, said: “Firstly we have retained a huge number of players this year which is encouraging and gives us a great platform to start our 2014 campaign from a position of strength. Energised by a new coaching team the Cinderford regulars are looking forward to sharing their experience with some of the new guys coming on board. We have had great numbers at training this week – led by Neil, alongside Saul, Mike, Paul, Geraint and Richard – and we are planning a training weekend in early August to bond the new and old(er) faces!”
“To date, we have new players from local and national levels that have joined the squad, and we are in talks with both Gloucester Rugby and Bristol RFC regarding dual registered player potentials. It’s also great to see the return of Sam Wilkes after a season playing championship rugby for Ealing,” Deacon added.
To bolster the FORWARDS squad Cinderford extends a warm welcome back to hooker, Sam Wilkes who left last season to play for championship side Ealing. Sam is joined by fellow hooker Dave Wheeler (Dings Crusaders) and prop, Jake Caulfield (Plymouth Albion RFC). New back rowers include Aaron Ryan (Old Patesians), Mike Uren (Dings Crusaders), and Rhys Luckwell (Clifton RFC).
New signings for the BACKS feature James Butler (Old Patesians) and James Price (Hucclecote) both playing at centre, and Henry Bird (Old Redcliffians) on the wing. Alex Haynes (un-connected) comes in at scrum half.
As news breaks on the new signings, former Gloucester Rugby player Adam Balding has announced his retirement from his playing rugby career as he heads into the busiest period for him as Ambassador and Event Coordinator for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with heavy demands on his time impacting his ability to train and play. The Club would like to thank Adam for his great experience, performance and talent on and off the pitch that he brought to the team during his season at Cinderford, and wishes him well in his full time role for RWC 2015 and Gloucester.
Said Neil Loader after his first live coaching sessions this week with the Forester side: “Cinderford had a progressive season last year and we have shown that we can compete at the highest levels within the league. By extending the strength and depth of the squad we are equipped to start the new season where we left off and continue our growth. We are pleased to have a good influx of new talent to bolster the side and replace those players who have moved on.”
“It’s testament to the club that a solid number from the squad have re-signed again and this retention of experienced players will give us stability and consistency to kick-start to the new campaign. Our first league game is away to Esher followed by what will be a massive home derby against league new comers, Hartpury Rugby, September 13, which promises to be an epic game for the players and supporters! I look forward to meeting the members at Cinderford during pre-season and sharing our progress.”
Outs: Adam Balding (retired); Will Davis (Ealing); Tom Bozzard (travelling); Ryan Charles (Matson); Tom Hicks (New Zealand); Will Keenan (New Zealand); Reece Boughton (Chinnor).
Photo Caption: L to R
Back row: Aaron Ryan, Mike Uren, James Price, Rhys Luckwell, Henry Bird, Jake Caulfield
Front row: Dave Wheeler, Alex Haynes