Drifters pay trib­ute to Gille­spie as re­place­ment search be­gins

Head coach de­parts to con­cen­trate on de­gree

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT -

He was go­ing to leave any­way, to con­cen­trate on the master’s de­gree he is about to take, and di­rec­tor of rugby Stan Ban­nis­ter paid trib­ute to his depart­ing head coach.

He said: “Dan has done an ex­cel­lent job here. He joined four years ago, af­ter we last got pro­moted, and kept us up com­fort­ably for three of those years.

“Every time we have been pro­moted pre­vi­ously, we have gone straight back down. We’re the small­est club in Bucks, so just be­ing in South­ern Coun­ties North is an achieve­ment, and stay­ing there for four years is a first.

“Dan’s a good guy who would al­ways take his job to heart, and we will miss his dul­cet tones on the side­lines. We will also miss his wife, Steph, who was our first ever club physio and has been a star.”

By a quirk of fate, the team Drifters needed to beat to stay up were Mar­low, from where Gille­spie had joined Drifters and where he had been both captain and as­sis­tant head coach.

Not only did they need a bonus point win and a points dif­fer­ence swing of some 50 points, but they also needed to hope rel­e­ga­tion ri­vals Thatcham lost and failed to get a bonus point.

But it was not to be, with tries from Sam Hawkridge and An­drew Mil­ton not enough to prevent a 32-12 de­feat, which proved aca­demic any­way as Thatcham man­aged to beat Bices­ter.

As a fi­nal ig­nominy, Swin­don Col­lege Old Boys, who have been prop­ping up the table all sea­son, man­aged to Bea­cons­field 18-12 to leap over Drifters and send them to a bot­tom-place fin­ish.

Ban­nis­ter added: “There’s no doom and gloom. We took more than 50 peo­ple with us to Mar­low and had a great night af­ter­wards. We’ve been un­lucky with in­juries this sea­son, but we’re look­ing for­ward to re­new­ing ri­val­ries with Slough again!”

Bea­cons­field, who had for so long looked like pro­mo­tion con­tenders, fin­ished sixth in the end, while Chesham also fin­ished sixth in the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Premier fol­low­ing a last-day 13-0 de­feat at Slough.

Action from Drifters against Mar­low at the River­woods Drive Ground, Mar­low

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