It’s a chance of a lifetime say promoted Caldy
AFTER nine consecutive seasons at level four, Caldy head coach Simon Verbickas admits the club is stepping into the unknown next season after winning promotion to National One.
A dramatic 28-26 comeback against promotion rivals Sale saw them clinch the title with two weekends to spare last Saturday and Verbickas is hungry for a chance against some big names of English rugby.
The former Lithuanian international, 41, said: “It is going to be a huge step into the unknown but, hopefully, it’ll be a good adventure for everyone involved.
“For me personally and some of the players this is a lifetime’s opportunity. To play against Coventry and Rosslyn Park, the bigger and older teams that have been around for generations, is something we’re massively looking forward to.
“What I’ve said to the lads is that no matter how seriously we take it, the big thing is we enjoy next year. If we do that, we’ll get the best out of everyone. How we prepare and train will be key because there is a gap between National One and Two in terms of pace, fitness, strength and ability.
“We’ve got the players to do it, the only difference is that we don’t have as many players with the experience of that level.”
Verbickas admits you could not have written the script for Saturday’s top-ofthe-table clash.
“To beat Sale in front our biggest crowd for years after going in at half-time 17 points down, was the stuff of Hollywood. Our internal belief shone through.”
Verbickas, an RFU community coach who played for Orrell and Manchester in the second tier of English rugby, is a firm believer that the first team’s success belongs to the whole club.
“If you disassociate yourself from the rest of the club you become a Saturday only team. The day after the lads celebrated our win, they were down watching and cheering on the colts.”
Caldy have shown steady progression since Verbickas came on board in 2014, finishing sixth and fifth in his first two seasons in charge before last weekend’s crowning glory.
“Everyone before me laid great foundations with the mini and junior section. We can now start calling upon the 18 and 19-year-olds from the club rather than looking outside.
“Andy Kyriacou has added loads to the coaching side and we’ve got a great DoR in Gareth Davies, while the back-up team has played a massive part.
“For me this was a culmination of a three-year plan. To take us to the next level is the perfect scenario. Hopefully the next two years will be just as good.”