Richie Williams takes confidence in the way Cambridge squad has taken shape
Volac Park retained list
Squad consistency has been one of the main goals for new Cambridge coach Richie Williams.
One of his primary targets on taking over at the club was to retain as many of last season’s players as possible.
With six weeks to go until the start of the new National League One campaign, Williams has released a retained list for Cambridge and it shows many familiar faces.
“I think it’s always nice to try to have a little bit of continuity in your squad, particularly with a new coach coming in and the players that we have brought in have fitted the profiles we wanted,” he said.
“We were probably a bit light in some positions last year, so I think we have prepared for a long attritional season and if we do suffer injuries then we are probably two or three players deep in every position now.
“The challenge is obviously to try to manage all of the players in terms of selection, but I’m confident that we will be running certainly two really competitive teams this season and I’m sure that will have a knock-on effect to the thirds as well.”
There have been a few departures, and the notable ones are prop Harry Morley making the step up to Jersey, while scrum-halves Pierre Peres and Lewis Barker, back row Tom Nutley and winger Lawrence Hutchinson have headed to pastures new.
Off-setting that though have been the new additions.
No 8 Steve Hipwell has returned to Cambridge, and he has been joined by fly-half/full-back Lawrence Rayner, props Tom Harrison and Zianna Alexis, back-five player Gillian Benoy and scrum-half Kieran Duffin.
“We’re in a pretty strong place at the moment,” said Williams. “The big thing from last season was probably not our league position but the total games that we won and the games that we lost were all within a score of the opposition, so that has given everybody a bit of optimism looking into this season.
“I think with a few tweaks with how we play and some new personnel just to freshen things up then we will hopefully win a few more games than we did last season and be a bit more consistent.”
Williams is hoping to add a couple more additions in the back-line.
Cambridge start their new National League One campaign at home to Sale on Saturday, September 1.
Retained players: Forwards – Ean Griffiths, Shane Moynihan, Matt Meek, Henry Peck, Ben Ibrahim, Matt Worrall-Clare, Sam Copeland, Dec Sully, Cam Ruddock, Alex Rayment, Gareth Baxter, Rob Conquest, George Bretag-Norris, Matt Waring, Wade Schoeman, Louis Rawlings, Jake McCloud, Keifer Laxman, Tom Read, Darren Fox; Backs – Cam Keenan, Finn Creighton, Sam Collicott, Jack Green, Ben Penfold, James Ayrton, Ollie Petrides, Matt Hema, Mike Ayrton, Owain Collard, Mike Stanway, Ash Elvers.