IT hardly seems five minutes since the 2011-2012 season finished but Matlock RFC’s players have already reported back for pre-season training.
The season ended on April 29 amid the driving rain, heavy winds and thick mud of a Derbyshire Cup final defeat at hosts Ilkeston but thoughts now turn to defending the Matlock Tens tournament title, at Cromford Meadows on July 28.
First team coach Alan Johnson explained: “The first training session was last Wednesday, which is not our normal training day, and so we were chuffed to bits to get 18 lads down already.
“They’ve had about five weeks off and are champing at the bit. The Tens has been brought forward a fortnight so the pre-season training starts two weeks earlier as well.
“It was a slightly unsatisfactory end to the season in that awful weather at Ilkeston but it was still a good season for us.”
Jack Wagg has decided to step down as first team skipper due to extra work commitment so Ben Neville steps up to become captain with James Cooper as his number two.
“We’re delighted for Ben. He’s come through the junior ranks and has only ever played for Matlock.
“Joining the squad will be Charlie Jackson, 17, predominantly a flanker who can also play hooker. He won the John Seedhouse Award for upcoming player at our presentation event. He’s one to watch and we’re glad to welcome him along.
“Also, winger Chris Buckley is back after a long lay-off with a knee ligament injury. It’ll be like having a new player because he only played the first seven or eight games last season.
“Jonny Bunting is pushing hard for a first team place after coming back from a broken leg. He played around five or six games for the 2nds and 3rds at the back end of the season and Nick Coombes, who had a long layoff with a hand injury, is back too.
“Touch wood, I haven’t heard yet of players who won’t be coming back, so on paper we’ve got a big squad with plenty of talent in it, which bodes well.
“In addition, The Grouse at Darley Dale has been confirmed as matchball sponsors for all senior teams for the season, which we’re delighted about.”
After the Matlock Tens tournament, Matlock will host Bakewell Mannerians on August 18 with further friendlies against Burton and Camp Hill also to be slotted in.
Anyone interested in playing for one of Matlock RFC’s three senior sides should go to www.pitchero.com/clubs/matlock/ for more information.