The U16 coaching team unanimously describe this season as an utter rollercoaster ride! We’ve had some pretty unsatisfactory performances followed by sheer brilliance. Promotion to the top tier of the Herts & Middlesex League at the end of last season exposed a big difference in the intensity and physicality of the rugby on the pitch. For the most part, the lads coped pretty well and remained competitive but often ended up as runners-up albeit by small margins.
Bedfordshire County Champions! A fine display of rugby saw off the competition to win the Beds Cup after many years, a fitting end to the season and to youth rugby as the lads move on to the Academy programme next season. We are fortunate to have some high achievers amongst us. Daniel Chalmers worked his way up through the DPP programme and into the East Midlands squad alongside Harry Collinge. Jake Bridges too worked his way into the East Midlands squad but is now also a member of the Northampton Saints Academy and plays regularly for them. Xander Hughes, after a summer of hard work in 2017 has made it into the England U18 Touch Rugby squad. He goes forward to the final selection (last 16) in May so fingers crossed for him. Connor Stone, Max van der Schuit, Bradley Draper, Harry Lawler, Xander Hughes, George Hansford, Josh Methven, Patrick Kelly and Alex Marshall all participated in the DPP programme too. Well done everyone!
A new coach, David Thomas, joined the team earlier on in the season and his quiet confident approach seems to have returned some normality to the way the lads play and also to the general morale of the whole squad. Head coach Josh Stone has decided to step down at the end of the season after more than a decade with some of the lads. We wish him well as he moves sideways to help another age group to success and we thank him for all his time and effort over the last ten or so years, the Beds Cup crown a fitting tribute to all his hard work. We need to mention Mark Mckinlay for his continued assistance throughout the season helping to develop the best pack of forwards in Bedfordshire and last but not least Mick Marshall, the best and most committed first-aider in the county!
Next season sees, what would be the U17s, merge with the Ampthill Academy where they’ll all train as one squad and play games on Saturdays and Sundays. This is an exciting opportunity for all our players to step up and be part of a squad with a clear progression route to senior rugby played at a high level. David Thomas and Andrew Arguile will continue on and will provide support for our lads as they make the transition. We wish all concerned every success, see you at pre-season training in July!