It has been a summer of change at Ealing Trailfinders, not least for Ben Ward who has been promoted from head coach to Director of Coaching and General Manager. Here the new man in charge provides a taste what he and the club have been up to over since the team last played in April.
To say I’m excited for us to be running out for our first game of pre-season this weekend is an understatement.
Although last season ended like it did, that is in the past now and it has been a summer of fresh starts, excitement, optimism as well as a lot of hard work behind the scenes from everyone involved. The continued support from Mike and Fiona Gooley and Trailfinders has been instrumental in building for this season and it is very much appreciated.
The players were back training at the start of June with a lot of new faces and some familiar favorites as well. On a side note I must just add that in our squad, we have Owen Bruynseels and Steve Neville who have made over 200 league appearances for the club and Phil Chesters who has made over 100 league appearances. Loyalty is pretty rare in sport nowadays but these guys have done a lot for the club and know what it means to wear the shirt with pride.
Pre-season is never easy, nor is it meant to be, and the players have all worked very hard to get in peak physical shape to be able to last a grueling season. Our next free Saturday from matches is after Christmas. The coaches have done their bit putting in place systems and structures to give the guys the tools to play what’s in front of them and heads up rugby.
With new players integrating into the squad, the team bonding and social side has played an important part of our pre-season with Kinners (Chris Kinloch) and his social team putting on numerous events to bind the squad together. From pub golf to paintball to team meals the guys have really brought into what we are trying to build.
Off the field we have seen some changes too, most noticeably the new 3G surface. This will be a huge benefit to us as it will allow us to train on a perfect pitch all year round and also help us play a fast running brand of rugby I know you all enjoy watching. So even when we have those winter Saturday afternoons when it is pouring with rain, you know you will be able to watch running rugby at Vallis Way.
This weekend we face tough opposition in the form of Newport RFC. They have already played two pre-season games so it will be a real test as they will be starting to look sharp and polished. It is an exciting day at the club with all squad members about, a barbeque and a chance to see the new pitch.
After the game the players will be in the clubhouse and it will provide a great opportunity to meet the new lads and catch up with players from last year. Your support makes a huge difference to the guys on the pitch and we want to make Vallis Way a tough place for opposition teams to come and get a result.
Finally congratulations must go to last season’s captain Mat Evans and his partner Alice who recently got engaged. I look forward to seeing Mat down this season as a supporter and having a beer after the game.
After a long pre-season rugby is back… see you Saturday at 3pm.