As his first season at the helm of Sevenoaks RFC Senior Squad draws to a close, with just Gosport and Fareham RFC, Gravesend 2nd XV and Cliffe RFC to play on 22nd April, Head Coach Adam Bowman and his staff are already in deep preparation for the 2017/18 season.
With the primary objective of maintaining London 1 South status achieved some time ago, the Head Coach has been keen to add to the foundations he and his team have laid this year in the maiden season in London 1 South. ‘Overall, I’ve been really pleased with the way the players have risen to the challenge of playing a higher level of rugby. We’ve really concentrated on building a big squad here this season, with as many players as possible being able to play 1st XV rugby and that has shown with our training numbers over the season, which have averaged 35. The 2nd XV look like they are going to finish as high as they have done for a number of years and the 3rd XV remain unbeaten, winning the league a few weeks ago, so the strength in depth we have focused on seems to be coming through.’
Bowman continues ‘But we cannot rest on a laurels. It’s been a completely new experience for us this year but we now need to take the next step and we will be pushing harder next season to make sure we compete well and create an environment that the players want to be involved in. I believe next season will be even tougher – Medway are coming into the league and will no doubt be competing at the higher end of the division. Other teams will strengthen. What this league has proven this year is that anyone can beat anyone so we will concentrate on getting consistency in our performance.’
When the final whistle blows on April 22nd at around 4.30pm, it will signal the finish to a season which, for Bowman and his squad, started on a hot Saturday morning on July 3rd 2016. His group of players will have trained twice a week and played on most Saturdays since that day, with the 1st XV taking part in 26 league fixtures. How does he keep a group together and motivated for that amount of time then? ‘It’s a real group effort and we try and keep variety in the way we train.’ Says Bowman. ‘We have invested heavily in our off-field offering, including upping our medical provision and our coaching structure.’
He continues ‘We don’t pay players, but we try and create as professional environment as possible. It takes incredible commitment from the players to be here, so we try and ensure that they are looked after and provide an environment where they can flourish and improve as players. Every 1st XV match is filmed so that the boys can look at their performance and analyse where they can improve. We have rotated the coaches who watch the 2nd XV so there is a constant stream of feedback and debate in selection so that every player feels they have the best chance possible of playing in the highest level they aspire to. We’ve also provided each Senior Squad player with a kit pack and small things like that ensure we look and feel like ‘One Squad’.
And so whilst his squad rest their weary bodies and refresh their minds, Bowman and his staff will be beavering away planning for next season – time waits for no Head Coach it seems. ‘The players will have a well earned rest. There will also be a tour to Italy with the Vets and Senior Squad in May which will be good fun and enable us to play a bit of rugby with no pressure. But then our S&C and Medical departments have also devised an off-season programme so we come back fitter and stronger before pre-season training starts’.
‘But we will be planning pretty much from 24th April – we’ll have a day off!’ he jokes. ‘The hope is that in a year’s, we will be looking back at a season where, as a Squad, we have improved across the board and had a good time doing it.’
If anyone is interested in joining Sevenoaks RFC Senior Squad, then please contact Head Coach Adam Bowman by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org