Mike Gillick praises resolve of Shelford squad after Westcombe Park win
Vital victory earns breathing space
Mike Gillick saluted the camaraderie of the Shelford squad as they clinched a vital 27-16 win over Westcombe Park in London & SE Premier.
Two tries from Charlie Parkhouse and one from Luke Mongston, as well as 12 points from the boot of Josh Simmons, earned Shelford victory.
It was a key triumph as going into the match Westcombe Park were sat in the third relegation spot but only three points behind Shelford, having won five of their last six games.
“It was absolutely fantastic, the biggest game of the season,” said head coach Gillick.
“Everyone had to be on their game mentally. What’s really nice now is we’re coming together as a team.
“It’s not about individuals who make fantastic breaks or huge hits on their own, the boys are tackling in twos and are defending together. Just the gel and cohesion between the two is fantastic.
“You can see how much it means to the boys as if we get some big hits, turn over a scrum or get a penalty, the boys are flying in congratulating each other.
“There’s a real camaraderie between the boys and I think that result shows it.
“To go in to half time six points down, the Shelford of old probably would have let the game get away from them.”
Grant Anderson in the backs and Mongston and Al Whittaker in the pack particularly shone.
“Grant Anderson in his first game back was absolutely fantastic defensively, and a couple of the new boys really showed their class,” said Gillick.
“Al has brought a lot of leadership and attention to detail in what we’re doing.
“He is nicknamed Jekyll and Hyde because of the amount of times he loses his head or becomes a completely different person, but his attention to detail and professionalism is absolutely fantastic.
“His desire to work for the team has been a huge asset to us; he is a real leader.
“Al described Luke Mongston as wild horse; he is a maverick and does these things that are so stupid and then moments of absolute brilliance.
“The way Al looks at games, he has advised me to treat Luke as a controlled explosion. He is going to go off but as long as we let him go off in the right areas, we’ll get the best out of him.
“I really think he is starting to thrive now, he has come into his own and is stepping up.”
Looking forward to the rest of the season, Gillick added: “We’re now at a stage we can build. This season is about survival but we’ve got a good core of lads that we can build around to really compete now.
“We’ve shown the last couple of weeks what we can do.”