Mike Ayrton to take over as captain of Eastern Counties
Cambridge utility back earns representative honour
Mike Ayrton has added another string to his bow after being appointed captain of the Eastern Counties select side.
It was confirmed last week that the 26-year-old Cambridge Rugby Club co-captain had committed his future to the Volac Park club for next season, and it has also been announced that he will lead the representative team this summer.
Ayrton was approached by Eastern Counties lead coach Mark Bolton to take on the role for the matches against East Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire in the Bill Beaumont Cup, Division One County Championship season. And the Cambridge stalwart jumped at the chance.
“Mark asked me to to captain Eastern Counties over the summer which is a bit of an honour, so I’m looking forward to that,” said Ayrton.
“Mark came to watch a couple of weeks ago and asked was I available to play this summer – he’d asked me the last couple of years, but I’d said no due to other things – and then he asked me to captain them.
“I’ve only played one season; the year before we got promoted with Cambridge when Rowland [Winter, Cambridge’s former director of rugby] was involved – when we got to Twickenham.”
Ayrton is co-captain at Cambridge with Ean Griffiths, and it is that approach that seems to have caught the attention of Eastern Counties.
“I think that’s maybe where they got the idea from,” said Ayrton.
“Mark liked what we were doing at Cambridge, and thought it was something that I could give a different spin to things with Eastern Counties.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, and Ean and I take the pressure off each other to a certain extent.
“We’re both new to the whole thing. Although we’re reasonably experienced in National League rugby, we’re new to the whole captaincy thing.
“We’re completely different characters so we bounce off each other quite well.”
Ayrton scored two tries last weekend as Cambridge secured a much-needed 50-26 win over Old Albanian in National League One.
Alex Rayment also got two tries, and Louis Rawlings, Darren Fox, Jake McCloud and Tom Emery got one apiece, with Ben Penfold kicking five conversions.
“It was a really good win,” said Ayrton. “It was well needed, I must admit. It was well overdue putting a performance in like that.
“It was getting a bit tight, but that win was needed. Now we need to beat Hull at the weekend and then we will be a bit more comfortable.”