When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
'Stoke preparing for 'crucial' weekend
MATT Guilfoyle says that this coming weekend could turn out to be a crucial one in deciding whether it is Basingstoke or Chichester who claim second place in London One South.
’Stoke currently lie third, two points behind Chichester – but the Sussex side host runaway leaders East Grinstead on Saturday.
A win for the table-toppers, who boast a 100 per cent record this season, would give Basingstoke the chance to overtake Chichester – but they too face a difficult game, hosting hard-to-beat Sidcup at Down Grange.
Guilfoyle said: “It’s a big weekend for both sides, with a lot riding on it. “Sidcup are a very physical team. Last year we lost to them at home and they are tough to beat – but we have improved a lot since then, so hopefully we will be okay.
“I personally try not to think about how Chichester might be doing while I am playing. We just have to concentrate on getting the bonus point and worry about them afterwards.”
Picking up bonus points will be vital for ’Stoke in their remaining four games – but Guilfoyle feels the team need to be more patient as they look for four tries.
“I think at the moment we are trying to get four tries too early,” the 27-year-old said. “We need to settle down and concentrate on our performance rather than focusing on getting four tries in the first-half.”
This season has been a frustrating one for Guilfoyle, who only returned to the first-team squad last month, having spent almost a year on the sidelines with a mystery groin problem.
“They did not really know what was wrong with me for a long time because it’s a problem deep in the tissue,” he explained. “It’s still giving me a bit of trouble now and I’m hoping to have a scan soon to find out what is wrong.
“It’s difficult because it’s an abdomen problem. It’s not a case of resting up, like you would do if you had a leg injury, because you use the muscles in everyday life.”
Since returning to the side, Guilfoyle has been asked to play a number of different positions – but he has his sights set on claiming the number 12 jersey currently held by David Byett.
“It’s going to be hard to break that partnership David Byett and Freddie Gleadowe have at centre but if I keep putting in good performances then I will get an opportunity,” Guilfoyle said. “We are similar players. I’m a bit quicker but people would probably say that David is stronger defensively.
“I’m sure it’s a problem that the coaches like having but when I have got a bit more game time I’m hoping to provide them with a real headache.”
Guilfoyle has started the last two games at full-back, a position he last played in several years ago, and he admits it has taken some getting used to.
“My strongest position is inside centre but I do like playing at full-back,” he said. “It was the position I played when I was growing up but I haven’t done it for a while so I’m in the process of getting the positional sense back.
“In the game against Beckenham I played 20 minutes at full-back, 20 minutes at outside centre and 20 minutes at inside centre.
“It’s just a case of playing consistently and doing a job for the team. At the moment, the most important thing for me is to get game-time."