Basingstoke RFC gear up for final pre-season game

'Stoke fans will get a first look at new players, including Gavin Hart, this weekend

'Stoke fans will get a first look at new players, including Gavin Hart, this weekend Buy this photo

First published in Rugby by , Sports Reporter

BASINGSTOKE RFC’s new head coach Will Croker is looking forward to seeing his side in action in their final pre-season game, at home to National Two London side Old Elthamians.

The game at Down Grange gets under way at 3pm on Saturday and will give the ’Stoke faithful the chance to see new signings player/coaches Gavin Hart and Ben Stewart in action.

It is going to be no stroll in the park for the home side, as the visitors won promotion last season, while ’Stoke went in the opposite direction.

Croker was keen for his side to be tested before their London One South season opener a week on Saturday at home to Dover.

Basingstoke’s first pre-season game was against National Three London favourites East Grinstead and they lost 57-7.

However, Croker was more than happy with what he saw and the performance of his players on the day.

The new head coach said: “It was a great workout for us. We played 30-30-20 and after the first 30 minutes the score was only 7-0 and then 21-7 after the hour. They only ran away with game in the last 20 minutes, when we made a lot of changes.

“They have recruited well during the summer and for me there were a lot of positives to come out of the game.”

Looking forward to ‘Stoke’s final pre-season game, Croker said: “Old Elthamians will be bringing their first and A team, so we will have two games and around 40 players will be involved.

“They have brought in some good players having won promotion. I know this will be a big test for us, but this is what I wanted at this stage of the season.

“We have been training hard and this will be a very competitive game. I can’t wait to see how my players match up.”

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