So near yet so far was probably the best way to sum up our third place in the table last season, for a second year running. After continuing to work on new methods of play, Saracens and England 7’s player Sarah McKenna also joined the coaching team to help develop this further. This was a welcome addition for Head Coach Darran Brown after assistant coach Henry Clear’s daughter arrived early, shortly before Henry underwent heart surgery.
Although it took a little while to build on, the results of our new style of play were evident around the park and produced some good rugby throughout the season. Some new additions to the squad also meant the players learning to adapt to each other’s strengths and abilities. Unfortunately, in availability and recurring injuries meant that it didn’t always quite go to plan.
A key focus last season was also to understand more about where we can improve our game. Now working with analysis software, we are able to review match footage before training to see where we can improve our patterns of play. This helps the players to understand more about positional play and the strategy we are working to. Towards the end of the season it began to pay dividends with some memorable scores.
Looking forward to the 2018-19 season and with Kate Barnes stepping down, Julia Holmes has been appointed the new Saints club captain and we wish her well. We have also appointed a match day captain with two vice captains for the season, details which will be announced closer to the start of the season. Social media is now centrally managed in line with the clubs new website and we are also working with some new partners and sponsors for this season.
Our off-season recruitment has gone well and we are seeing good numbers at preseason with a few of last season’s regular players yet to make training. The competition for spaces is hotting up, and we also look forward to welcoming some of the junior saints who now qualify to play for the 1st XV and gained experience with us last season. The heat has made preseason that bit harder and we make no bones about our ambitions to gain promotion to Women’s championship south this season. The players are all putting a lot of work in and we look forward to a couple of preseason friendly fixtures.
This season we will continue to improve the bond with our junior saints and look to give 1st XV exposure to those that are eligible. The coaching staff are also looking forward to working more closely with Craig and his team and ensure that our methods are aligned. We will continue to merge our training sessions towards the end of our Wednesday training and give some ‘real-world’ scenarios for the players to overcome.
All in all, we are positive and confident ahead of the season. We have our eyes set on silverware and nothing less will do. We push each other as coaches and as players to meet the high standards we set ourselves. We don’t have an easy league to win and have some tricky opposition to overcome. We head to 2 new sides in Medway and Old Elthamians this season who are newly promoted, so they will be pushing to continue on their good work from last season also.
Saints Club Captain