By The Bee Hive
July 20 2011
He will have a very different looking squad to the one that suffered relegation from the RFU Championship last season, but Director of Rugby Russell Earnshaw believes that the combination of a nucleus of retained players, bolstered by some new additions from a variety of sources, will give the Bees every chance of being competitive in National League One.
Front row stalwarts Matt Long and Nglau Tau, along with Mark Hopley, Jack Preece, Will Webster, George Thomas, and Russell Earnshaw himself are all retained from last year's crop of forwards, whilst in the backs Jimmy Williams and Ollie Winter will be the familiar faces to the Damson Park faithful. Adam Clayton is currently doing rehab work following an ACL injury.
The backroom staff has remained intact too, with Eugene Martin (Assistant Coach), Lorcan McGee (Physio), Steve Hughes (Team Manager) and Joy Brown (Masseuse) all continuing to be an integral part of the Bees' set up for the new season.
With excellent contacts throughout the rugby world and equally impressive powers of persuasion, Earnshaw has managed to line up 10 new squad members already, with further additions to be announced in due course.
Three players on loan from recently re-installed Premiership outfit Worcester Warriors will add plenty of beef in the Bees' front row, in the shape of Will Radburn (Hooker) and props Sean McCarthy and Louis Padian. Second row Mitch Todd also joins on loan from Nottingham.
Second row forward Tom Quarrie will be joining the Bees from Auckland, whilst promising Loughborough University flanker Matt Reeves will help to lower the average age of the Bees back row.
There are four new recruits in the backs too - Jack Pons makes the short trip from Billesley Common, with fellow centre/wing Gareth Clarke and centre Alex White joining from Rugby Lions and Sutton Coldfield respectively. Utility back Jon Lowden joins from Coventry.
"Obviously we had to make some major changes to our squad from last season, but in the likes of Mash (Matt Long) and Nglau we've got some great experience to build on and I am particularly pleased that Jack Preece, who was both our Players' Player of the Year and Supporters' Player of the Year last season, has turned down a number of offers to remain at the Club," said Russell Earnshaw.
He added, "We've got some excellent new recruits too, both through loan deals and in the shape of full squad members and with hopefully some more announcements to make in the coming weeks, we can now look to concentrate on our pre-season training and preparing for our opening home game against Ealing on 27th August."