Strong bond puts Cantabrigian Rugby Club in good place for new season
A family environment has helped Cantabrigian Rugby Club emerge from the other side of rugby union’s hiatus in a strong position.
With lockdowns and a lack of match action, you could be forgiven for presuming that there may be a natural drift away from the playing pool – after all, the primary focus is always assumed to be stepping foot on the pitch.
However, Cantabs have been able to keep everyone engaged and as a result attracted newcomers to the Sedley Taylor Road-based club.
“We’ve got nearly 100 players registered with us, and through the lockdown we’ve picked up more players than you could imagine,” said head coach Glen Remnant.
“It’s a really good demographic of professional people, and it’s been nice. They have added to the dynamic.”
Keeping everyone engaged has been one of the crucial aspects, and that has come in many different shapes and guises.
Harri Beasley is a talented musician who has been providing online entertainment, there were many online social nights and, when restrictions allowed a return to training, some of the players have been cooking for each other using a roasting pit at the ground.
“Will Riggs, the manager, and Laurence Jones have just been amazing with helping us circumnavigate the restrictions that we have with Covid and putting systems in place for us to be able to train in small modular units,” said Remnant.
“It’s been very challenging but there is a really exciting group that have been down there since day one that have stepped up in ways that I would never have imagined.
“It’s unique and through the pandemic all the sponsors stayed loyal to us.”
There has also been a refurb at the clubhouse to help provide better facilities, with many areas of the ground spruced up.
Having manoeuvred their way around many of the obstacles, the attentions can now turn back towards what happens on the pitch.
It has been an age since they were promoted to London League 2NE after what was a blistering season in London 3EC, with high-scoring wins galore.
“It has been a very, very long wait,” said Remnant. “We did a pre-season training for the season prior to this, and the guys were in very good shape.
“We were looking to hit what would have been quite a condensed season and really go for it, but unfortunately that fell over and we ended up playing that hybrid version, of which we had a couple of games.
“The guys have been chomping at the bit to get back on the field to show their wares.
“I’m really excited. With the new guys that have come in, and the boys that have been there a long time, we’ve got a really exciting squad.”
There is obviously an eagerness to pick up where they left off in March 2020, but it may take a few games to get accustomed to their new surroundings.
Inevitably, after such a long lay-off, there are a few injuries in the squad, and there is the usual transition of people getting back into a routine after the holiday season.
Remnant said: “The senior players want to start the season where we left off, and there is a professional expectation within the team and the club so it’s really nice to be a part of.”
Also, the new division is not exactly heading into the unknown, Cantabs were unfortunate to be relegated from London 2NE in April 2019.
“We’ve been there before, and didn’t deserve to come down but through injuries and stuff, we ended up where we were,” said Remnant.
“There are new challenges and we need to set new goals which the guys have done.”
It may be that they adopt a similar approach to the 2019/20 season.
“Will came up with a great idea, and we called it P85 – Project 85 – for promotion,” said Remnant.
“We knew if we got 85 points we would be in the mixer to go up. We were able to reach that target with games in hand, so we were in a very good place.
“We set points targets to, and the boys had achieved those well before we had targeted to hit them. That’s gone, and we need to move on, step up and look to repeat it again this season.”