Holt face dilemma after away triumph

Friday, October 26, 2012
4:59 PM

Holt make the relatively short journey over the Suffolk border to Lowestoft & Yarmouth tomorrow in a confident mood following their first away victory last weekend. Following several late withdrawals from the squad last Friday, the game -plan was thrown into disarray and led to a series of frantic phone calls between coaches, club officials and players – but Holt still came away with a 14-6 victory

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Coach Ed Steed said: “It certainly wasn’t ideal preparation for what Penny (Chapman) and I had targeted as a must win game. At one point we only had 15 players available to travel and were without a recognised loose head prop. Thankfully, by drafting in some of our up and coming second team players and reshuffling player positions, we were able to get a squad together.

“There was a bit of a despondent mood on the bus but Penny and I were aware of player spirit changing during the journey to one of determination and with rousing pre- match speeches by captain Karl Rumsby and ex-captain, Jake Van Poortvliet, the boys were fired up come kick-off and all put in an excellent shift, coming away with the points.”

There were starring performances from Tom Jackson in the backs and Rob Gray, who moved up from second row to prop, out-scrummaging two opposition players in the process. There were also outstanding first team debuts for Luke Gardner and Ben Harvey, with Harvey, as well as Tim Allen and Bruce Van Poortvliet playing brilliantly out of position. All this, coupled with a man of the match performance by Holt’s pack leader Ashley Woods meant coaches, Chapman and Steed had a number of positives, as well as the points, to come out of the trip.

With last week’s unavailable players coming back into contention for selection tomorrow the coaches face the difficult decision of whether to include them or to go with those who performed so well last week. This led to two very positive and competitive training sessions this week.

Whilst approaching the game against L & Y in a positive frame of mind, Holt will be wary of a backlash from their opponents, who will be looking to bounce back from their 40-0 defeat to North Walsham last week.

“They’ve had a good start to the season and will want to show the Walsham game was a one off,” said Steed. “They’ve got some good players but so have we. We’ve had them watched and know what they will bring and what they might try and have prepared our game plan accordingly. L & Y are a good club, who like us gained back-to-back promotions into London 2NE and have then gone onto consolidate their position in the league, before making a push for the top this season. This is something that we at Holt have to aspire to.”

• This Sunday will see Holt host the first of the season’s two Rugby Development Festivals held in Norfolk for under-7s to under-12s, the second being at Diss in the spring. About 400 children from clubs across the county will descend on Bridge Road, High Kelling for a day of rugby, starting at 10am.

The club are using the festival to promote the link with Stody-based Walking With The Wounded, the club’s chosen charity for this season. Festival organiser, Sean Chapman said ‘Rugby has a close and long based affinity with the armed services and it is an honour for Holt RFC to support this locally based, national charity and the work it does for the men and women injured in the service of our country. This is perhaps particularly apt at this time of year, being so close to Remembrance Day. Rugby has core values of Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship, which are in many ways similar to those of our armed services and of the Walking With The Wounded Charity itself’.

The festival is due to commence at 10.00am, with all spectators welcome.

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