RUGBY ROUND-UP: With fingers, and pretty much everything else, crossed, Warlingham RFC are gearing up for their first full competitive rugby season since 2019 by adding some serious clout to their coaching set-up.
Covid lockdowns saw the premature end of the club’s last season in London 3SW, when the club was fourth in the division by February 2020, and the second wave of infections last autumn meant that there was not a ball kicked in anger all season.
But Croydon’s most successful club is back in training, keen to make up for lost time.
Ben King, formerly of Old Elthamians and Exeter Academy, is among the club’s new signings, along with Lewis Brown, who has represented Championship-level club Ealing Trailfinders as well as Rosslyn Park and Old Elthamians.
Both have joined Warlingham as player-coaches, where they join the experienced John Hoskins (a former captain at Old Elthamians) and ex-London Irish player Tom Parker.
Warlingham’s Director of Rugby, Nick Warren, said, “The quality of this coaching group shows the club’s commitment to developing local talented players. A number of players returning from university will also add to the strength in depth.”
Brad Saffery has returned from Westcombe Park and has been appointed Warlingham club captain, and he is already showing to be a very positive influence.
Mujtaba Zaidi has been instrumental in working with returning university players and will captain the 2nd XV.
Peter Mattison, the club chairman, paid tribute to Warren’s recruiting skills during some of the toughest of times for amateur sports clubs. “Nick has built a top-class group of coaches that should rival higher level clubs around London and the South East, and demonstrates our ambitions to be the top club in the Surrey area,” Mattison said.
Training at Warlingham is currently Wednesdays at 7.30pm at the club’s Hamsey Green grounds, and players of all standards are warmly welcomed.
- At Frant Road, Streatham and Croydon RFC are on the search for a new head coach to replace Matt Hawkes following the club’s relegation to Surrey 4. “We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic character to start in time for the beginning of pre-season in mid-July,” the club says. A job description and application form is available on the club’s website.
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