Newbury Ladies are back in training
FORMER Scotland international Fiona Sim is returning to spearhead Newbury Ladies Championship 2 South West campaign.
Inkpen-born Sim has committed to the club for the 2017/18 campaign.
And she will be joined by former Richmond ace Charlotte Williams – also returning to Monks Lane – and several other new faces.
Newbury were promoted last season, and head coach Joe Harwood said: “It’s exciting times at the club.
“All three teams– Blues, Stags and Ladies – were promoted last season so there is a real buzz about the place.”
Newbury finished runners-up in South East West 1 last season, and now they are looking to consolidate in the higher division.
It’s going to be a steep learning curve for the ladies, who face lengthy trips to Guernsey, Cullompton in Devon and Drybrook in Gloucestershire.
But Harwood is convinced his side can more than hold their own.
He said: “It’s a big step up – it’s quite a while since we played at this level.
“We have had our first players meeting where we set out our goals for the season.
“The aim is to have won eight games by Christmas and we will re-evaluate our position then.
“I am confident that we can secure our main goal of achieving a mid-table position.
“We have played four of the teams in the division over the last few years and we have won as many as we have lost.”
Newbury have kept the majority of last season’s squad and added real quality to the team.
The first pre-season training session attracted around 30 ladies, and several more have shown real interest in joining the team.
Personal trainer Joanne Nightingale will be putting the players through their paces with seven sessions of fitness work, while they have already started rugby-based training, such as games and set-pieces at Monks Lane.
Newbury have home friendlies lined up against Witney on August 12 and Richmond on August 19.
And the real action gets under way on September 9 with the long trip to Cullompton.
Horwood added: “As well as their competitive success, the team has enjoyed a lot of fun off the pitch.
“Rugby is a game for all and weekly matches are cheered on by a crowd of spouses, partners, children and parents – this really is a family game and everyone is welcome – to play, train or support.
“We cater for players in their first season of rugby, through to those who have played at a wide range of levels for many years.”
Training takes place at Monks Lane on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7.30pm to 9pm.
Anyone interested in joining Newbury Ladies can find out more information from Joe Harwood on 07775-676192 firstname.lastname@example.org