New-look coaching team aiming to lead North Walsham forward

Action for Saturday's friendly match between North Walsham and Kettering. Picture: Hywel Jones

Action for Saturday's friendly match between North Walsham and Kettering. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

With North Walsham looking to improve on last season's fourth place in London One North, James Brooks has strengthened his coaching team ahead of the new campaign.

The North Walsham coaching team of, from left to right, Johnny Marsters, James Brooks and Joe Beards

The North Walsham coaching team of, from left to right, Johnny Marsters, James Brooks and Joe Beardshaw. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

Joining him on the coaching staff are Johnny Marsters and Joe Beardshaw.

Both will work throughout the club as forwards' coaches, with Marsters also having responsibility for the second team, the Raiders, and mentoring Colts players moving into adult rugby.

'As former Premiership players they bring a wealth of professional experience' said Brooks. 'They also bring different skill sets, Joe having been a second rower and Johnny a prop.

'Crucially both are skilled at passing on their knowledge: the squad have already learnt a lot and enjoyed working with them.'


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New Zealand born Marsters captained the All Blacks at Under-21 level and in his long professional career played for Natal Sharks, Northern Free State, Swansea and Saracens. He describes North Walsham as 'a real community rugby club with great traditions and beliefs.'

Working in Construction as a contracts manager he lives in Stalham with his wife and three children. His son Ollie 'enjoys all the values that rugby offers' playing for the Vikings' Under 15s and in Leicester Tigers' development programme.

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Beardshaw was brought up in North Norfolk playing in the Vikings' Youth and Minis. Representing England from under 16 to under 21, he had 15 years as a professional, spending eight seasons in the Premiership with Wasps before joining Glasgow Warriors and then Cornish Pirates, where his career was ended by injury in 2009 aged 32.

Now working for Dewing Grain he is married with two children, his son playing for the under- eights.

These appointments mean all the club's senior coaches have substantial experience of professional rugby. A versatile back, Brooks played 15 years professionally, including eight years in the Premiership (Wasps, Northampton and Leeds) and four in the England Sevens squad.

Chairman Keith Jarvis commented, 'our coaching team have a wealth of experience and expertise which few sides at our level can match. Players throughout the club can only benefit and we are looking forward to an enjoyable and successful season on and off the pitch.'

North Walsham kick off their league campaign with a home match against Colchester on Saturday week. Turn inside for more on the new season.

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