RUGBY: Rising Devizes are making their mark
ONE chance encounter during the summer drummed home to Devizes captain Tom Collins just what sort of impact his club’s elevation up the league rugby ladder had made on the local community.
The London Road outfit kick off an exciting new era in their history on Saturday as they entertain Towcestrians in their first-ever South West One East match (3pm) following last season’s title-winning triumph.
A club on the up, the Saddlebacks have spent the close season beefing up their Chivers Ground facilities, including the installation of new floodlights and hope their exploits will capture more interest in the town and surrounding areas.
Collins though, had a taste of the buzz created by their progress during a visit to the doctors after their triumphant Southern Counties South-winning campaign.
“I had a slight hernia (after the season) so I went to get it checked and they told me the treatment and recovery would take about four to six weeks,’’ he said.
“I was thinking, ‘oh no’ I’m going to miss a big chunk of pre-season’, but then one of the nurses said to me ‘you’re Tom Collins aren’t you?’
“My appointment was going to be at the end of June, but instead she sorted me out and it was done in the first days of June and I was able to start pre-season on time.’’
That pre-season has included an increased focus on fitness as the Saddlebacks prepare to tackle a higher standard of rugby, work that has already reaped benefits, according to Collins.
He added: “We are so lucky to have a lot of hard working people up at the club who have provided us a players with such great facilities and the players have also put a lot of work in.
“We’re a lot fitter as individuals and have put a lot of work into our strength and conditioning, with the help of Body Revolution (in Chippenham). You could see the benefits in our game (friendly) against Trow-bridge last weekend.’’
As for the Towcestrians challenge, Collins admits Saturday’s opponents are something of a mystery.
He said: “You hear rumours and we’ve heard that they might be some sort of feeder club to Northampton Saints, but we don’t know about them really and we can only concentrate on our game.’’
- DEVIZES wrestled the Dave Sullivan Memorial Plate from local rivals Trowbridge with a hard-fought 14-10 win last Saturday.
Trowbridge’s 7-6 win in the league meeting between the sides last season had seen them hold the silverware from the annual match, held in memory of Sullivan who was heavily involved in both clubs.
Centre Mark Warburton scored the opening try for the home side, converted by fly-half Andy Thompson.
A second try followed before half time, Thompson jinking through a gap and adding the extras himself.
Trowbridge hit back with two unconverted second-half tries.
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