WITH an abundance of young, local talent working their way through the ranks, scrum-half Jamie Fish thinks that the future is bright for Basingstoke RFC.
The 25-year-old has been at the club for more than 10 years after joining as an under-15 and coming through ’Stoke’s academy system.
He made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old and, apart from a season spent in Spain a few years ago, has been a key member of the Basingstoke team since.
Fish is now one of the older players in the ’Stoke dressing room and he is excited by the talent following in his footsteps.
“I am used to being one of the younger players but we have got such a young team that at 25 I am now one of the older heads,” he said. “I have been here through all of the ups and downs over the past few years but I think that the set-up we have got now means we have more stability than we had in the past.
“Before, we have had the talent but there have always been players from outside, whereas this is very much a local team. The future looks healthy because it’s quite an organic team and I’m really enjoying playing with all of these young guys from Basingstoke.
“You can see that it means a lot to everyone, which is really good.”
One of those younger players is fly-half Adam Davies, a man Fish is really enjoying playing alongside.
“Adam is an exciting player to play with,” Fish explained. “You are never sure what he is going to do and I like playing with people like that.
“He can find holes in a defence and he is another young guy who will hopefully be around for a while. He’s got the potential to be a really good fly-half for the club.”
Another of Fish’s half-back partners this season has been Jack Parsons – but the Tadley youngster is about to leave these shores for a spell in Australia and Fish admits that his absence will be felt.
“We’ll definitely miss Jack Parsons,” the scrum-half said. “He’s played almost every game and his flexibility, being able to play at 10 or 12, has been really useful.
“For a lad of 19 he has also got a really good head so, while I am really happy for him, because he has got a great opportunity, we need to make sure that other players step up.”
Stepping up is something the whole squad has done over the course of the season, moving Basingstoke into a position where they are challenging for the London One South play-off spot.
They have been on a fantastic run and Fish says that expectations continue to rise within the squad, to the point where an excellent 22-0 win at Dover felt a little disappointing because they failed to secure the four-try bonus point.
“It’s strange,” he said. “We won 22-0 away at Dover but it felt like we hadn’t won because we didn’t get the bonus point, which might be quite important.
“At the start of the season we would have taken a 22-0 win away at Dover and it just shows how far we have come. Before we would have taken the win but now we want a bonus point every week and are not happy if we do not get it.
“Getting that win against Chichester means we are setting our standards that bit higher now. It gave us a bit of extra belief but also raised our own expectations. We are not too arrogant but it showed us that we are a good team in this league and should be winning every game.
“We are hunting down Chichester and just feel that we have got to get the bonus points to make sure we don’t lose any ground on them. If it comes down to the last game of the season then so be it but we just need to make sure we get maximum points because they have got a couple of tough away games to come.”