Rugby

Old Techs begin preparations for life in Devon One

OLD Techs will begin their preparations for life in Devon One on Thursday when they return for the start of pre-season training.

The newly-promoted city club have been having informal touch rugby sessions for the last month, but this week the serious business starts.

The club are hoping they can make their mark at the higher level after winning promotion from Devon Two last season.

They are still looking for new players to bolster their squad as they are also looking to launch a second team for the 2017/18 season.

They have strengthen their backroom department with Jerry Josee, who has worked as a coach in Spain, joining them from Devonport Services and Paul Ansell, who suffered a badly broken arm at the end of last season, becoming backs coach.

They will work with Shaun Bedford-Smith, who not only guided Techs to promotion last season but also to three cup finals.

“We feel we are a club on the up,” said chairman David Evans.

“We have won the Lockie Cup for the past two seasons and got promoted and we are hoping to do well in Devon One, but we know it is important to get a good start.

“We are looking to strengthen our squad ahead of the new season.

“We have made a couple of signings already, including scrum-half Scott Pearson, who used to play for us before, and a few more players have said they are interested in joining us.

“We are hopeful of getting some new players, which is why we want to get a second team going as it will add competition for places and give fringe players the opportunity of playing.

“We are committed to doing that and we are buying a second team kit as well as a new one for the first team.”

The club’s new second team have entered the Ellis Trophy but have not entered an official league. The plan is to play friendly/club games next season to establish themselves.

Techs’ first team will play Cornwall/Devon League side Tavistock at Weston Mill on August 19 in a pre-season friendly before playing in the Paul Lethbridge Memorial Day the following week.

They will then use the David Butt Memorial Trophy to build up to the Devon One season.

Techs, runners-up in the  David Butt competition last season, have been drawn in a tricky group alongside fellow Devon One side Dartmouth, who were promoted with them, OPMs and Salcombe.

Evans said Techs were quite pleased with the draw, with OPMs, who finished third in Devon Two behind Dartmouth and themselves, their first opponents in the cup on September 2.

“We are happy with our group,” said Evans. “It is good to get some decent, tough games in early ahead of the league season.

“We had tough games against all those teams last season.”

Evans said everyone at the club is just looking forward to getting going now.

“We had a month totally off and then we’ve had a month of touch rugby for anyone who wanted it,” he said. “We’ve been getting 20-odd people for that, but we start pre-season properly on Thursday and we’re looking forward to it.”

Techs say any new players are welcome to turn up and train with them.

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