Rugby

Tamar Saracens and OPMs begin their preparations for Devon One

TAMAR SARACENS and OPMs will begin their preparations for the new league season on Saturday when they play a warm-up match at Parkway (3pm).

Even though the sides will be in the same division next season – Devon One – they have still arranged to play each other.

OPMs have kept the same coaching staff from last season, but they have named a new captain for 2018-19 in the form of Billy Garratt.

Sarries, though, have a new-look coaching set-up for this year’s campaign. Last season’s head coach Chey Bryce has returned to just playing at Brixham and Pete Lethbridge has moved up to replace him. Lethbridge will be assisted by Dean Oram and Mark Binnie.

Oram, who will look after the forwards, has been coaching in the youth set-up at Devonport Services for a number of years, while backs specialist Binnie was coach at Saracens’ Devon One rivals Totnes last term.

Binnie has moved to the Plymouth area, which was the main reason in swapping Totnes for Sarries.

“It was a tough decision to leave Totnes,” said Binnie. “But I live locally to here and this club was recommended to me. I am also familiar with this league.”

Oram said: “I have been coaching down at Services for the last seven or eight years in their youth set-up, but I just wanted to try something different and work at senior level.”

Lethbridge is looking forward to Saturday’s first run out after an encouraging summer.

“We have a few away on Saturday, but I have been really encouraged by the guys so far in pre-season,” he said.

Saracens have been boosted by the return of youngsters Lewis Swatton and Scott Cooper from Devonport Services and the arrival of Adam and Craig Coutts from Saltash.

However, they are still waiting to see if last season’s top try scorer James McFarlane will stay with them. The prop has been attracted interested from higher league clubs and has been training with South West Premier League club Brixham.

Re-organisation of rugby in Devon at the lowest levels this summer will see a new-look Devon One for the 2018-19 campaign. It will feature 11 teams, including Saracens, OPMs and Old Techs.

Last year’s Devon One only had eight sides in it and took place over just four months.

“It is going to be tough this season, but it will be better as there are more l teams,” said Lethbridge.

“I think it is going to be difficult league but we are looking forward to it.”

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