TAMAR Saracens say they have moved on from the disappointment of missing out on promotion in the 2019-20 season and are now focussed on making sure they have the best chance of going up next year.
Sarries finished second in Devon One last term, which should have secured them a promotion play-off place. However, all play-off games were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and RFU officials decided to promote two Cornish clubs to the Cornwall/League rather than two from Devon.
But Ernesettle-based Sarries are now just looking forward to the 2020-21 campaign – whenever that might start.
They have slightly re-gigged their coaching set-up with Pete Lethbridge moving up to director of rugby, Dean Oram becoming head coach and Scott Sheldon joining the coaching team as back coach.
Adam Sheldon, Steve Reeves and Jamie Lavill-Harris will look after the second team.
Sarries have also started to strengthen with Callum Perkin joining his brother Josh at the club and Lewis Swatton returning from Ivybridge.
Club chairman Dan Leeson is delighted that Scott Sheldon has agreed to join the coaching team.
“We desperately needed a backs coach,” said Leeson. “We did put an advert out a few months ago but with all what’s been going on it went a bit quiet.
“I had sounded out Scotty before. He is very keen to keep playing, but I said to him ‘look you basically do it anyway in training’. He ticks all the boxes for us and I convinced him to do it. It will be brilliant for us having him in that official role rather than just doing it willy-nilly.
“But the most important thing for me this year was getting the second team sorted out. We had one guy kind of running it last year but it is a thankless task running a second team. So I wanted a team of three to really grab it by the horns and take it to the place I want it to go.
“For me personally, the second team is the most important one in the club. If the second team is running well then the first team more-or-less looks after itself.”
He added: “I took the role on as chairman the season before last. In the last two years we have had a stand built, improved all the facilities and improved the attitude of all of the players – we have instilled more of a professional attitude and all that kind of stuff – but there were just a few bits of the puzzle that were missing. Getting three managers for the second team is a massive plus for us, as is getting Scotty involved in the coaching.
“We are just waiting for it to all kick-off now.”
Leeson admits the club have had quite a lot of interest in new players wanting to join them.
“Callum (Perkin) has now signed for us and four or five other guys from other clubs have given me their details. It is strength in numbers.”
When the season does start, Devon One, like all other RFU leagues, will be split into two conferences on geography. There will be seven teams in one and seven teams in the other who will play each other on a home and away basis.
If there is time, teams will then play all the other sides in the other conference home and away and complete a full 26-game campaign.
However, with the RFU not knowing when the season will be allowed to kick-off due to coronavirus restrictions, they have said there might only be time to play one fixture, either home or away, against the other seven teams in the league (19 games) or there may just be a play-off between the two conference winners.
It does give the RFU three options that cover three different starting windows and allows some planning of fixtures. Full details on the RFU’s 2020-21 plan can be found HERE.