RUGBY: Taylor to lead Saddlebacks

This Is Wiltshire: New Devizes captain Julian Taylor New Devizes captain Julian Taylor

BACK row Julian Taylor has been named as Devizes captain for the 2014-15 season.

The 29 year old openside flanker takes over from scrum-half Tom Collins, who stepped away from the role after overseeing the Saddlebacks' elevation to - and first season in - South West level rugby last season.

Taylor was an instrumental part of the Devizes side that finished a creditable seventh in their maiden season in South West One East and will take over with the club savouring clashes with local rivals Chippenham and Trowbridge when the season kicks off in September. 

Taylor said: “It is a privilege and an honour to captain the club which I’ve played for since being a small lad.

"I’d like to go on record to say that Tom (Collins, former captain) has done a great job over the past couple of seasons and I would like to emulate the success that his leadership brought the team.

"South West One East is going to be as challenging if not more so than last season, so we will need to be at our absolute best for the duration of the season to improve on our seventh-placed standing last time out. With the likes of Chippenham and Trowbridge joining us in the league, the lads cannot wait to get stuck in and to set down a few markers.”

The Saddlebacks, promoted as Southern Counties South champions at the end of the 2012-13 campaign enjoyed an impressive first season at level six last term, beating the likes of Maidenhead and Grove away from home, as well as local rivals Swindon and Salisbury at London Road.

Six of their players went on to represent Dorset & Wilts in the RFU County Championship Shield last month.

The second team also maintained their status at Dorset & Wilts One North for the second season running, with the third team in Dorset & Wilts Three North.

Stuart Hadden will continue to manage the first XV, who will again be overseen by head coach John Kimberley.

The second team will be managed by former third team fly-half Paul Dyton and experienced second row Gavin Curnow handed the captaincy.

Ryan Wallbridge returns from a year out in Australia to captain the third team with Paul Naish continuing at the helm as manager. Wiltshire Concrete will continue as the club's main sponsor.

Andy Paterson has been appointed head coach of the ladies team, with pre-season training held up at Wiltshire Police HQ on Wednesdays at 7pm. Contact Sarah Ennis at sarahhooker2@googlemail.com for more details.

Senior men’s pre-season training starts at Green Lane next Tuesday, July 1 at 7pm and will be held every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of the season.

Strength & conditioning sessions currently take place on Mondays at 7pm at Green Lane playing fields with Body Revolution and first XV back Rory Brown. 

For further details on joining the club or details regarding training, contact Seb Hutchings on 07889929168 or via email at seb_hutchings@yahoo.co.uk.

MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD

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