Ballymoney RFC has started back at pre-season training in preparation for the 2011 – 2012 season.
With over 50 players out at training on the first week it shows an encouraging sign for the club for its forthcoming league and cup campaign.
Training takes place every Tuesday and Thursday night with players being requested to be on the pitch at 7.30pm sharp.
Ballymoney have retained their experienced and familiar coaching team from the previous fewyears.
Head Player Coach Jason Taggart enters into his eighth season as coach of the club and in that time has seen the team promoted from Qualifying Section 3 to becoming a recognised team in qualifying 1, highlighted by winning the Towns Cup in 2011.
Jason commented: “It took us three years of playing and building a squad to get to be a top four side and win the Towns Cup.
“Last year we lost a number of key players in key positions from that squad, with James Carson (prop), Martin Irwin (out half), Keith Thompson (centre) all leaving before the start of last season and we knew we were in a rebuilding process.
“Aidy Graham (lock) has also joined Ballymena this year but with the work we did bringing young players through last year we are in a stronger position.
“The skill level and enthusiasm of the younger players really adds life to the more experience guys that are about.
“Our forward pack is really unchanged, bar the loss of Aidy, so we do have a good platform and if the young backs can step up to the mark who knows what will happen this year.”
Ballymoney objective this year is still to rebuild although they know that if a few closer results had went there way especially in the 2nd have of the season they could have been close to the top 4.
A large part of the development of the team was the level of performance of the 2nd XV.
“We did not treat the teams at training as 1st XV and 2nd XV, but as a whole squad,” said Jason. “We train together and last year had a number of very useful games between the sides.
“I believe this has pulled the performance of our seconds closer to the level of the first XV and with nearly the whole of the 2nd XV team being involved at some point in the 1st team during last year this experience will be invaluable.”
Jason is joined by back coach Benjy, who has been on the coaching team for a number of seasons. Benjy brings a wealth of experience to the coaching team plus has had great links with the younger players though his role as Dalirada Rugby Coach.
Robert Adams once again takes on the role as manager and will be assisted by Peter Sheilds who has been manager for the 2nd XV over the past number of years.
If you are a new player of any age and ability or someone starting back into rugby please feel free to contact club captain James Cleland on 07887954231 for more information on training.