It’s the big kick-off this Saturday. And what a cracker to look forward to at Waterloo Road!
Southport RFC welcome Eastham based Anselmians from the Wirral, a club with equal ambition and who will looking to put down a marker from word go. Last season Southport took the honours with two emphatic and well earned wins against a team threatened with relegation but the noises from over the water suggest that this season they will be a completely different proposition.
Likewise the home team. The club has been a hive of activity during the close season with the players working to schedule meticulously set out by Bill Nichol and new head coach Neil Ryan. Neil inherits a wonderful legacy from Bill with a strengthened First XV squad led by inspirational skipper Joe Mawdsley comprising a vibrant cocktail of young but established first-teamers infused by a heady mix of exciting new signings and up and coming Colts, with one of two old heads to steady the ship.
The club is delighted to announce quality new signings Jack Boyce from Merchant Taylor School, Chris Cunningham from Saint Marys Old Boys, Andrew Mairs from Instonians (Belfast), Darius Sangari from Edge Hill University and James Wright from Eccles & Edge Hill University with more potentially in the pipeline. Also returning player Dan Cresswell.
With newly elected Club Captain Colin Toohey donning his blazer to represent the senior players on the Executive, the coaches and players have voted Tom Hill and Josh Critchley as 1st XV vice-captains to Mawdsley, Andy Boland as 2nd captain with his vices to be confirmed, Brian Henry as 3rd XV captain with vices Dave Atherton and ANO and Ladies captain Lauren Mccluskey and vices to be confirmed. Likewise the Colts.
Neil will be looking for his charges to go up several notches to iron out the weaknesses from last season, notable a need for strength with numbers in depth and resilience against some of the more established clubs. The lads will need this in what will be an even more competitive South Lancashire & Cheshire Division One than last season and what a well matched league this is with some really mouth watering fixtures to look forward to.
No more so than 3.00pm this Saturday. Shane Cook has the pitch looking lush and perfect fit enough to eat your dinner off.
It will be home alone for the Firsts as the Seconds travel the short distance
for a neighbourly chat with Tarleton 2s whilst the Thirds take the ferry across the Mersey to Oldershaw 2s. With a healthy one-club mentality there is no room for complacency and all shirts are up for grabs with chances for all to catch the eye in training and during games.
Likewise the Colts who will be in the 50mph zone down the M6 to their counterparts at Crewe & Nantwich, but hopefully in the fast lane once they arrive. They’ve certainly worked exceedingly hard over the summer with excellent numbers and attitude at training topped by an astounding 71-7 win at Preston Grasshoppers last Sunday. If this is anything to go by they will be force to be reckoned with, not least as the players strive to integrate into the senior teams.
Not that things have been quiet off the pitch either. As ever the club thrives on the back of support from volunteers, patrons and business’s and will be proud to announce an array of new sponsors closely associated with the town in the next few weeks, with other initiatives in the pipeline too. A new sponsored match and events programme cover and insert designed by Neil Mutch has been produced, although unfortunately will not be ready for Saturday. A huge step has been taken in appointing Julie Fearns as the clubs first Administrator to deal with the mounting back office stuff!
The Club looks forward to hosting all current and potential sponsors to a 'rustic' lunch on Saturday (please confirm with Sue) together with the players, officials and supporters from Anselmians. With updates throughout the afternoon on Sandgrounder Radio everything is focused on the green Waterloo Road carpet the moment the whistle is blown at 3.00pm.
* BENIDORM 2018 - Thursday > Friday, 7>9 June next year . £50 deposit to Sue by 1st October. Book early to keep the price down! For further details see Jonah. Neptunes here we come! All wingers & swingers, hookers & lookers, locks and (make you own mind up) welcome.
Updated 20:53 - 3 Sep 2017 by John Kenny