Chris Lakey North Walsham Vikings have begun their fight to make an immediate return to the National Leagues with sweeping changes behind the scenes. A new coaching team will take charge of a semi-professional playing squad, at a Scottow home showing several improvements.
North Walsham Vikings have begun their fight to make an immediate return to the National Leagues with sweeping changes behind the scenes.
A new coaching team will take charge of a semi-professional playing squad, at a Scottow home showing several improvements.
Former Walsham player Nick Greenhall has returned to the club as lead coach, with another Vikings old boy, Tim Malone, accompanying him from Wymondham - the most successful club in Norfolk last season.
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Dave Smith, who acted as caretaker coach following the departure of Jon Curry last season, has been appointed as backs coach while Mark Scott has been given the new title of 'co-ordinator of rugby' - managing the coaching function across the whole club and Ian East is also with the coaching team.
Club chairman John Farrer, who was re-elected at the recent annual meeting, said: “There is a real feeling of optimism around the club now.
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“The appointment of Nick, Dave and Tim to these crucial roles will give us an incredibly powerful coaching team on which to build a winning side.
“The decision to start paying players is a big step. But last season showed more than ever how the game has changed with every team we played having gone semi-professional.
“That was National League 3, but the same is the case in London One, where the rugby will be no less competitive.
“Our days as the top amateur club in the country have now gone.”
Meanwhile, Malone said: “It is very important the club works very hard to build ties with the local community, and that includes the other rugby clubs. And it is important that the club rebuilds the bridges that perhaps have been burned between them and some of the other clubs and re-establish a good relationship.
“The most important thing is to be open and honest and advertise yourself as a good product so it is a good place where any young player can come.”
On the facilities side, a new building is being erected which will comprise a large function room with bar and kitchen facilities to provide a much improved hospitality area for pre-match lunches and other catering.
The building will also house a new shop, disabled toilets and the club office, enabling the club to enlarge its changing facilities in the future.
Further good news for Scottow regulars is that the grandstand will be moved to the western side of the main pitch and, for the first time, will be covered to improve facilities for supporters.
w North Norfolk's Tom Youngs helped England to the final of the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens, where they lost 24-14 to champions New Zealand, who rounded off their season by claiming their sixth IRB series win out of eight.