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Buttle glad to be back at Basingstoke
EXPLOSIVE winger Karl Buttle is impressed by the changes that have taken place at Basingstoke RFC over the last four years.
The 24-year-old is currently in his second spell at Down Grange, having left the club to try his hand playing in the National League with Esher in 2008.
Spells with Newbury and Richmond followed but Buttle has now returned to Basingstoke, the town where he grew up and the club at which he began his career as a raw teenager.
“I came back because I just wanted to enjoy my rugby,” he said. “I gave playing at a higher level a go and I see myself as more of a social player now. “It was really good training more regularly but it was hard to balance it with work and all of the travelling made it difficult to enjoy the social side of the game.
“I would like to think I have improved in my time away though. Training at those clubs every week, I think I picked up tips and habits to make me a better player.
“I was always keen to come back. I had a year out after I left Richmond and decided that Basingstoke looked like a club going places. With the new coaches coming in, everyone was saying it was a good club to play for so I decided to give it a go.”
Much has changed at Down Grange since Buttle last played for ’Stoke. The club has been relegated, promoted and then relegated again, while a string of coaches have come and gone.
“A lot is different now and there are a lot of new players but it is good to be back,” the former Brighton Hill Community College pupil added. “The new coaching set-up is really good. There are a lot of coaches and everything is organised in a really structured way.
“Of all the clubs I have played for, Basingstoke is the one that probably has most competition for places. It is a really strong group of players and everyone is looking over their shoulders. It never used to be like that here.”
Promotion back to National Three London, the level Basingstoke were at when Buttle last played for the club, is the aim this season – and the winger thinks that is certainly achievable.
“It is a good squad and I would like to think that we could get promotion this year,” he said. “We certainly want to finish in the top two at least.”
Having spent a year away from the game, Buttle admits that it is taking time for him to get back into the swing of things.
“Personally, I feel I am getting there,” he said. “There is still a bit to go in terms of fitness but I’m closer now than I was a few weeks ago. It’s good to have started with a few tries under my belt and hopefully I can keep it up.”