GARETH Davis’s call-up to the Dorset & Wilts side for their opening clash of the season did not come as any surprise to Swindon College Old Boys chairman Martin Peaple.

The hooker impressed all season despite Old Boys suffering relegation from Southern Counties North, doing enough to catch the eye of the county selectors.

Peaple admitted the selection of Davis was a silver lining for the club at the end of a difficult campaign and insisted his player more than deserved the recognition.

“Gareth has been tremendous for us, not only as a player but in his role as captain, so for him to be in the starting side is amazing for him and the club,” he said.

“It was a hard year for us but, on and off the field, Gareth was excellent and contributed an awful lot. It wasn’t an automatic selection for him and he had to put in an awful lot of effort at the training session in order to get it.

“This selection is a reward for all of his hard work because he puts so much into his rugby and all other areas of the club. He doesn’t just contribute on the pitch, he contributes off it too.

“This is a bit of sunshine for us at the end of the season and it’s something for us all to look forward to.”

Peaple also believes Davis has the talent to be playing at a higher level.

“This call certainly isn’t out of the blue as he was on the books of Newbury Blues when he was younger and, all things being equal, could have had a career at a much higher level,” he said.

“Since he was at school he’s always been around us as a club and we’ve watched his career develop and blossom as he’s always had quality.

“Some people can just get over the line and become professional or semi professional and others are not quite as fortunate and have to find work outside rugby.

“We’re lucky to have him and we’re all looking forward to watching him play.”