Ipswich YM flying high after the Clive Bell revolution
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich YM Rugby Club head coach Clive Bell has told his players to stay humble and self-motivated following a sensational start to the season.
Saturday’s 125-0 thrashing of Mistley made it a perfect eight leagues wins from eight and sees them top the Eastern Counties Greene King Division One South standings with an incredible 504 points already scored.
It’s been a remarkable change in fortunes for the Rushmere-based outfit following years of solid defensive rugby and mid-table finishes.
“I was going to take a year out of the game and then I got the phone call,” explained 29-year-old Bell, who turned to coaching after a growth disorder forced him to hang up his boots at the age of 17.
“I popped down to have a look, liked what I saw and it went from there.
“I’ve completely changed the style of rugby. We’ve moved away from the traditional work it back and forth across the pitch game plan which can be tiring. I’m utilising the bigger players in midfield and working with a split attack that can go either way from the ruck.
Having plucked players from the Colts and reserves, he added: “Getting rid of that ‘first team’, ‘second team’, ‘third team’ ethos and making everyone feel as though they’ve got a chance of being involved has increased the level of competition for places.
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“I’ve just told the lads that we’ve got to stay humble and self-motivated. We’ve got our targets.”
Andy Moore, YM’s director of rugby, said: “The impact Clive has had is amazing. He’s immersed himself in all areas of the club and seen potential in players who would never have dreamt of playing first team rugby.
“We’ve scored almost as many points in eight games as the entire previous two seasons combined. The whole feeling in the club has changed.
“We used to have 15 players turn up to training and then had to chase them up ahead of match days. Now we’re getting 35/40 turn up for training and they are all chasing us up ahead of the weekend!
“Last year we were lucky if we got five men and a dog watching the games, now we’re getting crowds of 200. The numbers for pre-match sit-down meals have gone from 15/20 to 70.”
Moore added: “We’re not going to go up five or six levels and be a club like Bury St Edmunds, but I think we can target one or two promotions and still be a good voluntary run, grassroots rugby club for all.”