They’ve won just one league match all season, they regularly concede more than 30 points, and in one game they lost 134-10. And then they were lucky to get the 10. IAN LAMONT visits Croydon RFC to find out how they manage to keep going
Croydon RFC might have lost all but one of their games in Surrey 1 this season, but there is nothing wrong with their desire, according to Gary Coxe.
It would be easy to think that a team with defeats as big as 134-10, who regularly concede about 30 points a game would be despondent and struggle to get a team out.
But the club, formerly known as Shirley Wanderers but now firmly based in Addington Road at West Wickham, has doggedly kept going through a difficult season, even if they are already looking ahead to regrouping after relegation in Surrey 2 next season.
“It’s the players themselves who do the motivation, because they love rugby,” said Coxe, the club’s vice-chairman.
“Once you have rugby in your blood, it’s just a love of rugby that keeps you going. The spirit at the club is really good.
“Our captain leads all the motivation – and he’s only 21,” he said, referring to No8 Dave Thornton.
“We lost our coach going into the season and a few players left and Dave took it on himself to be captain. A lot of the lads are like brothers who have decided to stick together.”
The ill-fortune that has struck Croydon RFC – not to be confused with the older, Streatham and Croydon, based in the north of the borough – this season was summed up last Saturday, when top-of-the-table Old Cranleighans used a snowstorm to best advantage in the first half to mount an early lead and hang on to win 18-17.
The one-point defeat represents one of Croydon’s best performances of the sorry season, in which the league table states a sorry Played 17, Lost 16, For 180, Against 565.
“Saturday was a fantastic game. The team didn’t deserve to lose,” said Coxe.
Croydon’s first XV faces their final fixture this season at Old Whitgiftians on April 6.
Having had a “couple of strong players” join the club, Coxe also said that Bill Maynard “who has always been a Croydon boy”, has returned to the club after spells as head coach at Warlingham and Chipstead.
Last night, Croydon hosted a friendly game under the club’s floodlights against the Railway Barbarians, a group made up of rugby lovers who work on the railways. The game has twice been postponed this season, because of bad weather – and as a former railywayman Coxe is torn between which team to turn out for. “I’ll probably do 40 minutes for each,” he said.
And then it will be back to planning for September, and a fresh start in Surrey 2. “Once the season has finished and the players have had a couple of weeks off, come June they will come back together and they will start making good preparations for next season,” Coxe said.
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