Interviews with Scott Redfern, 1st team fly half at Lymm RFC and Simon Beards Lymm 4th team
By Simon Plumb
With a view to gaining new players’ perspective of Lymm RFC, here are two interviews with this season’s new fly half at Lymm RFC, Scott Redfern and 4th team player, Simon Beards.
In this first interview, Scott answered frankly and openly, offering his opinions, a real insight into how the season has rolled out and, as a newcomer, his feelings about the club.
Q1: Scott, please give me an outline your playing career to date, where you are originally from, school, early club(s), honours etc.
Scott: I started my playing career at the age of 8 for my local club Rochdale whilst attending the local primary and high school which were both non-rugby playing schools. At the age of 12 I was selected to represent my district (Greater Manchester) and at under 14’s I was lucky enough to represent my county (Lancashire) who I represented consistently through to under 20’s. Unknowingly at the time at under 16 level I met now teammate Ally Sutherland and his farther Donny Sutherland, leading to a club transfer to Ormskirk RUFC where continued my junior career, playing on numerous occasions against Lymm RFC in many very tight fought matches, many of which are still debated in the changing rooms and on the bus to this day!
During my time at Ormskirk I continued to represent Lancashire and supported the team in winning four back-to-back age group Lancashire cup trophy’s and participating in two European club competitions. At college level I attended Myerscough College as part of Sale Sharks AASE development program. During my college time I represented Lancashire 16-18’s, North of England 18’s and Scotland Exiles. After leaving college I started my senior career at Manchester RFC before moving to Stockport RUFC after two very tough seasons as I’m sure all followers of Northern Rugby Union will know. Between leaving Manchester and starting my playing with Lymm, I also played for Sale FC before sustaining a injury which lead me to return to Stockport once again. During this period I represented Lancashire 20’s, North of England 20’s and Sale Jets playing with a number of current team mates including Sam Mullarkey and Ally Sutherland.
Q2: You joined us from Stockport during last summer for pre-season training, and have now had a full season at Lymm. What have you enjoyed about this season?
Scott: After an impressive and thoroughly enjoyable first season at Lymm the high level of professionalism, dedication, team cohesion, family ethos and varied training coupled with an expansive and expressive formation of play has been very enjoyable. One thing that has stood out is the genuine desire of players to want to play for the club, the shirt and each other in a league plagued with bad press surrounding paid players, Lymm is genuinely the most friendly and welcoming clubs I’ve been too… and we all know I’ve been at a few!
Without running the risk of making his head to big to fit through the changing room door it has certainly been enjoyable to play alongside Andy Davies at 9 this season. He is a truly dedicated player and having played against each other on a number of occasions throughout our careers, not without the occasional half back hand bags, it has allowed me return my game to the levels its failed to reach in recent years and I look forward to developing that playing partnership for many seasons to come.
Q3: I understand you have committed to play for Lymm next season, which I am sure Lymm’s members and supporters will be very pleased to hear. What has influenced that decision?
Scott: The decision became clearer and clearer as the season has gone on. I feel I have been welcomed into the club by the coaches, players and entire Lymm family which has allowed me to play some of the best rugby I have played in recent years surrounded by high class players. Furthermore the style of play the coaching team is looking to continually develop and implement is something I have previous knowledge running at 10 and feel it complements my desired style of play and one that will do very well at higher levels. I hope to be part of that progression with the club and show the team and club how much more I have to give.
Q4: How do you feel about the coaching set-up and how has that differed from previous clubs/teams you have played for?
Scott: As previously mentioned above the coaching style and team has a strong balance of personalities and experience which brings a rang of insights and knowledge that has shown in the teams abilities to be diverse and adapt our style of play when required, prohibiting teams from shutting down our patterns and shape. One thing that solidifies the point of the team ethos and desire to play for one another is the ability for all players to present their ideas and lead sections of the sessions creating a cohesive and tight knit squad.
An area that is different to other teams I have played at previously is the ownership that is put on players to decide the ambitions, direction and goals for the season and periodically review this as a squad and adapt training, skills, patterns and tactics accordingly. On a personal note as a 10 coming in to the club it has been refreshing to be allowed to put my own ideas and options into the game plan and given the freedom to implement the patterns and team structures in my own style.
Q5: Arguably, this has been one of Lymm’s most successful seasons. What has been notable, or what improvements have you seen as the season played out?
Scott: In my opinion, the strength in depth of the entire senior club has seen a wide range of players training and playing at the top level, off the same hymm sheet, allowing fluidity between teams. This has allowed the coaching staff to implement a new style of play that has taken teams apart and played to the squad’s strength whilst allowing a more expressive style of play for each player on the park.
Q6: How do you think the club, and players, can improve from this point?
Scott: Moving forward the only real addition to the season that I feel could have improved the outcome was further strength of depth and squad experience.
A number of times this season the team has been pushed to the limits as any team will do in the highly competitive national league promotion challenge but, as has been apparent on a number of occasions, this has taken its toll on the players and resulted in small injuries.
Yes this is a part of the game we play but a small additional number of experienced players, dedicated to the team would allow greater player rotation when needed and hopefully make the physio team’s job a little easier, in keeping players at full fitness for the full season. That and an artificial pitch to allow year round training in top conditions, if the club can achieve what it has this year imagine what it could achieve if they had a set up comparable to others in this league and the one above.
Q7: Promotion was not achieved this term but, in your opinion, how would you feel if that was achieved subsequently?
Scott: This can only be a positive for the club, even from my short time here so far there is a large number of people on and of the field that have put a tremendous amount of effort to help raise the club to the higher levels they deserve. As long as Lymm can repeat the levels of commitment and exceptional performance as this year, I feel we can learn from the disappointment of coming so close and overcoming the last hurdles to gain promotion.
Q8: In your opinion, is the club equipped to handle the next level?
Scott: Yes with the planned development and upcoming influx of young talent from the junior sections, epitomized by players such as Matthew Hand and Luke Richards this season coming through the club and having exceptional campaigns this year.
Q9: Dependent on your answer to No 8, what needs to happen to survive and then thrive in the league above?
Scott: The club needs to continue the ‘one family’ ethos keeping talent at the club long term, paired with also welcoming more players who can enhance and support the club mentality, and goals both on and off the field alongside the improvements already planned for the club and Lymm as a whole to increase the support needed at higher levels.
Q10: Finally, if there was one quality that stands out about the first team squad what is it?
Scott: I’ve talked a lot about the club and senor squad as a whole because it has become apparent this season how important the “one club” ethos is and how this sets Lymm apart from other clubs. But as a first team squad this year it would be hard to select just one thing that has been so influential. Everyone knows how hard the team trains, how dedicated the team, coaching staff and club are but one thing some people may not necessarily see unless, they are constantly around the team week in week out on the field and off the field, is how appreciative of one another they are – there are no outsiders, no egos and no I’s. This shows from how well the team has pulled together when needed and the inability to tell who’s played 200+ games for the club, and those in their first season like myself.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my first season at the club and hope to show even more of my abilities next year and hopefully become a fundamental part of Lymm’s promotion success, justifying the coaching teams decision to bring me into the Lymm Family.
On a side note I would like to thank the club, especially those who now know them well, on how accepting and welcoming they have been of my parents. They couldn’t have been made to feel more part of the club!
In the second of a series of fascinating interviews, and from one end of the playing spectrum to the other, I conducted an interview with Simon Beards, a newcomer into the 4th team in 2017/18.
This interview took place after I met Simon Beards for the first time at the Annual Dinner in May. Simon expressed how, and why, he has enjoyed joining the club, and the difference he has noticed between Lymm and other rugby clubs. He is planning to move and live locally soon but this season has travelled from North Wales every Saturday to play, and every Sunday for his son, James, to play in Lymm’s Under 11’s!
Q1. I understand you have played much of your rugby in North Wales. Please give me a quick run-down of your playing history.
Simon B: I played senior rugby for Llandudno Rugby club for just short of 20 years, the majority being in the first team. My achievements included two North Wales Cups, two Div North 2 league titles and a North Wales intermediate cup (the Plate as it’s called now). I also played through the ranks to represent North Wales seniors.
Q2. What have you enjoyed about playing for Lymm this season and the fourth team in particular?
Simon B: After giving up playing rugby for approx 2 years (I have just turned 40), a work colleague informed me about the 4th team and the enjoyment he had in the previous season. I decided to give it a go and soon understood why! The team is run extremely well and it has a great team ethos around it, with the will to win that satisfies my expectations in sport. This big thing I had noticed is the rugby values that have been lost in many other clubs, more so my previous club.
Q3. How has that differed from other rugby clubs you have played for?
Simon B: When I refer to the difference in rugby values, I mean the respect and discipline required on and off the pitch. I have seen too many games lost, (at Llandudno) at the blame of the referee, the weather etc. etc., something that I got completely fed up with. A lot of this also came from the sidelines at seniors and in the juniors, something that seems unacceptable at Lymm. This is more important for my son James’s rugby journey as I almost became immune to it.
Simon Beards with son James
Q4. What particularly appeals to you about the Lymm set-up?
Simon B: After speaking to some long term members, it was quick to see how much the club has developed over the years. This with the planned new club house and 4G pitch, shows that the club has further ambition. What is also great is the amount of volunteers that are at hand, as my son also plays for the Under 11s which is supported well with coaches, ex-players and organisers alike, something I had to cover all myself while coaching and managing the junior team at my old club.
Q5. As a relative newcomer, what would you say to players and members at Lymm about the benefits/ethos?
Simon B: The main point is how the club maintains rugby’s values, also the great touch of supplying a crate of beer after each win.
Q6. Are there any improvements you would like to see?
Simon B: More beer…..
One thing maybe would be to reduce the amount of cancellations the teams suffered, though Lymm isn’t the only club to suffer from the poor weather this season. Maybe the 4G pitch will aid this?
Q7. In summary, what message would you like to give to the membership as a whole?
Simon B: It has been a really enjoyable first season for both my son and myself, we both look forward to the new season with the plans, tours and events that will be on offer.