Ryan’s men in tip-top shape for big kick-off

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life -

IT’S the big kick-off this Satur­day – and what a cracker to look for­ward to at Water­loo Road. South­port RFC wel­come the Eastham­based Anselmi­ans from the Wir­ral penin­sula, a club with equal am­bi­tion and one which will be look­ing to put down a marker from word go.

Last sea­son South­port took the hon­ours with two em­phatic and well-earned tri­umphs against a team threat­ened with rel­e­ga­tion.

But the noises from over the wa­ter sug­gest that this sea­son Anselmi­ans will be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion.

Like­wise the home team – the club has been a hive of ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the close sea­son with the play­ers work­ing to a sched­ule metic­u­lously set out by Bill Ni­chol and new head coach Neil Ryan.

Ryan in­her­its a won­der­ful legacy from Ni­chol with a strength­ened first XV squad led by in­spi­ra­tional skip­per Joe Mawd­s­ley com­pris­ing a cock­tail of young but es­tab­lished first-team­ers in­fused by an ex­cit­ing mix of new sign­ings and up and com­ing Colts, with one or two old heads to steady the ship.

Ryan will be look­ing for his charges to go up sev­eral notches to iron out the weak­nesses from last sea­son, no­tably a need for strength with numbers in depth and re­silience against some of the more es­tab­lished clubs.

The lads will need this in what will be an even more com­pet­i­tive South Lan­cashire & Cheshire Di­vi­sion One than last sea­son and what a well matched league this is with some re­ally mouth-wa­ter­ing fix­tures to look for­ward to.

And none more so than at 3pm this Satur­day af­ter­noon on a pitch that is look­ing lush and per­fect.

It will be home alone for the firsts as the sec­onds travel the short dis­tance for a neigh­bourly chat with Tar­leton’s sec­ond-team whilst the thirds take the ferry across the Mersey to Older­shaw’s sec­ond XV.

With a healthy one-club men­tal­ity, there is no room for com­pla­cency and all shirts are up for grabs with chances for all to catch the eye in train­ing and dur­ing games.

Like­wise the Colts who will be in the 50mph zone down the M6 to their coun­ter­parts at Crewe & Nantwich, but hope­fully in the fast lane once they ar­rive.

They have cer­tainly worked ex­ceed­ingly hard over the sum­mer with ex­cel­lent numbers and at­ti­tude at train­ing topped by an out­stand­ing 71-7 win at Pre­ston Grasshop­pers last Sun­day.

If this re­sult is any­thing to go by they will be a force to be reck­oned with, not least as the play­ers strive to in­te­grate into the se­nior teams.

Not that things have been quiet off the pitch ei­ther.

As ever the club thrives on the back of sup­port from vol­un­teers and spon­sors. The club is thrilled that long­stand­ing bene­fac­tors Na­tion­wide Pro­duce Ltd and an ar­ray of oth­ers no mat­ter how big or small have now been joined by an­other South­port-based busi­ness EFT Group.

Chair­man Steve Olive com­mented: “We pride our­selves on be­ing a suc­cess- ful lo­cal Com­mu­nity Club, so it is great that we have been able to con­clude a four-year part­ner­ship with EFT Group, a lo­cal busi­ness suc­cess story led by Adam Watts a cur­rent mem­ber and past SRFC player.

“Af­ter the first year EFT Group will be the main ‘front of shirt’ spon­sor on the play­ing shirt for all 500-plus play­ing mem­bers of South­port RFC.

“They will be tak­ing over from Na­tion­wide, who have been the main shirt spon­sor for many years, and the club ex­tends its thanks and ap­pre­ci­a­tion to Na­tion­wide for the fan­tas­tic sup­port they have given the club over the years.”

He added: “We are de­lighted that EFT Group are com­mit­ted to work­ing with the club to of­fer real ‘off the pitch’ de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for our young play­ers”

The club is look­ing for­ward to host­ing all spon­sors on Satur­day and is hop­ing to an­nounce other new deals and ini­tia­tives in the com­ing weeks.

But for now, ev­ery­thing is fo­cused on the job in hand at 3pm.

An­gus Mathe­son

New head coach Neil Ryan en­gag­ing with South­port play­ers at train­ing last week.

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