Lymm Coach Fletcher assesses the season
As the season comes to a close, Adam Fletcher, the Head Coach at Lymm Rugby Club, gives his frank and honest assessment of the season, in this Q&A session.
Q: It’s been a tough, rollercoaster of a season. How are you feeling as it comes to an end?
Adam: Exhausted and looking forward to a rest.
Q: You finished fourth from top last season and fourth from bottom this one. How do you assess that and what have you learned?
A: We’ve learned that keeping fit and healthy is everything. We only have a small squad so injuries really hurt us. Last season we barely had an injury and finished 4th and this season it’s been the opposite.
Q: So often in games it appears to be case of fine margins. This must have been a huge frustration for you and the boys. Why is this and how have you approached this conundrum?
A: It’s been very frustrating. Rugby is a simple game and quite often won by the team that do the basics the best. We’ve not done the basics well enough on a consistent basis hence losing a lot of games by fine margins. We’ve had to remain positive at training and keep believing that we’ve not suddenly become a bad side.
Q: However, certain results, especially the big, relieving win recently against Alnwick (52 – 13) for example, would indicate your squad is sometimes not far from last season’s form. Why and how can they be so devastating one week and struggle the week after?
A: The Alnwick result came on the back of a confidence-building result against Vale of Lune. Confidence and momentum play a big part within sport. We got a bit of momentum from the Vale game and took it in to the Alnwick fixture. We also kept hold of the ball for long periods, we actually had 71% possession. We had been averaging around the 50% mark for the rest of the season. Rugby is a simple game, hold on to the ball and you will score points.
Q: We have seen you blood some really good, young players this season. Has that been out of necessity or part of your grand plan?
A: We always want to play the young lads and in the past we’ve picked the games we think suits them best. This season we’ve had to play the young lads far too often and against teams that we would normally keep them away from. A good example of this is the Hull (a) game. Due to injuries and unavailability we had to hand debuts to 3 senior colts. They performed superbly well but it probably wasn’t the best game to introduce them to senior rugby.
Q: You might not want to pick out individuals but who have been your ‘go to’ players this season and why? Who has shone in a difficult season?
A: There have been some heroic performances from the whole squad but especially from the pack. To pick individuals is tough but I think Joe Watson has been a real Warrior for us, James Pitcher has been a real find and Ben Stansfield has improved week after week. I’m so proud of all the boys.
Q: Many of your supporters feared the worst at one stage, with relegation a real possibility, but also believe Lymm belong at this current level. Do you agree and how are you planning to compete with the semi-pro set-ups in this division, and maintain competitiveness?
A: It was looking pretty dicey going into the last few games and a brief, worst case scenario chat did take place. We definitely belong at this level and are confident that we can compete with the big boys next season. We obviously need a bit of luck with injuries and recruitment, and have already started the process of retaining the current squad – it’s all looking positive.
I say we need luck with our recruitment because we have to target players that want to play without getting paid. We have a great culture and social scene and with the new AGP we will have a top class training and playing surface. Hopefully that will help.
Q: What are you planning next season in terms of squad building, recruitment and training?
A: We’ve got our end of season review this week so that’s when the planning starts for next season. We already have an idea of what positions we need to make us stronger and got a few targets. Pre-season training needs to be tough. We have to be in prime 100% condition come September 1st. We probably weren’t quite there this season, it definitely had an impact with some of the injuries we picked up.
Q: What is your overall message to your supporters and membership?
A: Thanks for sticking with us throughout the season. After the euphoria of last season it could have been easy to expect the same again. Our supporters understand that it’s been tough and instead of getting on our backs have been so supportive.
The exec committee have been brilliant and once again backed me and my coaching team all the way. Here’s to a well-earned rest and let the planning start for next season.