Ipswich Rugby Club's pre-season preparations going well, ahead of Sunday's youth registration day
Free-scoring Ipswich have gone on the defensive as they prepare for life in London 1 North.
The Humber Doucy Lane-based team scored over 1,000 points last season on their way to the London 2 North title – losing just two games all season – as former coach Johnny Breedt’s side saw off the challenge of runners-up Saffron Walden.
Inevitably, Ipswich will face sterner challenges than the ones they came up against last season when they begin their new campaign, away at Letchworth, on September 6, and new head coach Lee Parry and forwards coach Clive Bell, have left no stone unturned, as they bid to hold their own with the likes of Colchester, North Walsham and Thurrock.
“This pre-season has been mainly focused on going over our new defensive structure and making sure all the players are singing off the same hymn sheet. Things seem to be progressing well,” said Bell.
“That was our main aim as we just think that going up a league, we will be under more pressure from teams.
“We are a good attacking side but we have got to stop the points defensively and then take our chances when we attack.
“We don’t want teams capitalising on our mistakes. We play a very open game and we almost want to force errors and exploit a quick turnover and counter-attack.”
Ipswich host Chelmsford in a pre-season friendly at Humber Doucy Lane on Saturday before entertaining Dutch team, Hookers of the Hook of Holland, on Saturday August 30.
That will be Ipswich’s last warm-up game before the real action starts and will cap off a sound pre-season that has also taken in games away at Bury St Edmunds and Coventry.
“We used a mix of first and second-team players in those games, which were more an exercise in implementing our defensive structure. We weren’t too worried about the scorelines,” explained Bell.
“I think we lost by about 10 points in both but they were good tests and gave us the chance to try out new things and nip in the bud anything that didn’t work.”
Come the new season, the majority of last season’s squad will still be on-board and Bell explained the club’s desire to try and go forward with the players that brought so much success last term.
“There will a few new additions and we will always welcome anyone to training who is interested in coming along on a Tuesday or Thursday night, but we want to go as far as we can with the players that have been loyal to the club. We want to be loyal to them.
“They are good enough to play in London 1 and I think they are excited, rather than nervous, about the season ahead.
“There is competition for places in the team, especially in the forwards and it is going to be tough for me to decide which guys are going to be playing.”
n Ipswich Rugby Club is holding a registration/family fun day for under-six through to under-18 players, male and female, on Sunday August 31 (10am start).
No rugby union will be played on the day but it will be a chance for youngsters, old and new, to come and get a feel for the all-inclusive club.
The bar in the clubhouse will be open until 3pm and there will also be a barbecue and bouncy castle on offer.
“I started at the club as a young lad and I am still here now,” said Clive Bell.
“I have made some very good friends along the way and played with, and against, some very good players.
“Rugby is a sport for all and I would encourage anyone intersted to come along and give it a go.”
For more information, contact David Dodds on 07764 898677.