When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Competition for places key to 'Stoke success
JAMES Croker says that stiff competition for places will prevent any of his Basingstoke RFC players getting complacent.
There seems to be a gulf in class between the top four sides and everyone else in London One South, with ’Stoke, East Grinstead, Chichester and Wimbledon winning most of their games against the teams below them by big margins.
Basingstoke have won their last three and five of their last six, thrashing Dover 73-0 to move up to third in the table last weekend.
Their next fixture is a home game against Haywards Heath on Saturday (kick-off 3pm). The Sussex side sit 11th in the table and are yet to win on the road – but ’Stoke’s director of rugby does not expect to see any of his players taking it easy.
“We have got a couple of unavailability issues this week and the guys coming in will want to establish themselves so that competition should keep the minds focussed,” he said. “We have just got to do exactly the same things we did last week, no less. We need to dominate in the same areas and not allow them to play their game.
“It’s been quite nice in training this week because we have been able to concentrate on what we are doing well rather than fixing things we have been doing wrong. I am chuffed to bits with the way the boys are playing at the moment.”
One of the players missing this week is fly-half Adam Davies, who has had a tremendous impact since coming into the side. Jack Parsons is expected to come in for him, while the absence of flanker Matt Horne will give Ryan Davis the chance to show what he can do when given the opportunity to start a game.
“It is great to have Ryan there to come in and he has got a couple of tries already this season, so he’s popping up in the right areas,” Croker said. “His support play is as good as anyone’s and that is what he does really well.
“It’s also nice to be able to bring Jack straight back in, even though Adam Davies will be a big miss, because it makes sure that the competition for places remains high.”