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Newark Rugby Club captain Will Britten aiming to continue winning ways

By Sharon Hodkin

As the season gets under way this weekend, the new captain of Newark Rugby Club 1sts, Will Britten, has set the bar high for his side as he aims to improve on last season’s top-four finish.

Newark finished last season with back-to-back wins against Nottingham Casuals and Dronfield and have continued their winning form in pre-season, beating Tupton and Syston 2nds.

The new season starts on Saturday with a home game against Ashby.

Newark Captain Will Britten carries the ball having burst through the Syston line. (4039045)
Newark Captain Will Britten carries the ball having burst through the Syston line. (4039045)

Britten said: “Pre-season has gone well. We have had a lot of changes in the run-up to this season and it’s been great to see so many new lads coming down.

“It was quiet to begin with as we were getting to know each other, but we are all very confident, loud and having a laugh with one another now. I am surprised how quickly everyone has been able to settle.

“The training level has improved too. We have got Stuart Birch, from Physical Health and Performance Limited in Farndon, who comes down to work on our strength and conditioning, making sure everybody is physically ready for the new season.”

Britten believes the new additions to the squad will benefit the team.

“We have lost a few players with experience and replaced them with a lot of younger lads,” he said.

“The majority of our new signings are 17 to 21, but that isn’t a bad thing.

“Having new, hungry players coming in to fight for a place is good. They have no fear when stepping on to the pitch, which is a good trait to have in a team.

“On the flip side, losing former captain Matt Clark, Dave Shiels and Buddah (Aloesi Waqalevu) is a big loss, but there’s a few of us who have been at the club for a while and are now seen as the senior heads who have that experience.”

The 24-year-old full-back made his debut for Newark in the 2011-12 title-winning season.

His father, Graeme, played rugby and cricket for Newark and his uncle, Glynn, also played rugby for Newark.

Will is relishing the role as captain and leading the team to on-pitch success.

He said: “There’s no reason why we can’t go on better than last year.

“There are some factors that are out of our control, like injuries and games being called off because of weather, but we will do everything we can in training and in matches to make sure we better last season.

“We are all aiming for a top-four finish.”

Newark’s curtain opener is against Ashby, who finished runners-up in the Midlands 3 East (North) division, earning promotion to Newark’s Midlands 2 East (North).

Britten said: “With Ashby as our first game everything is a bit of an unknown.

“We haven’t played them before so we don’t know how they will play or what they are like.

“We will be prepared though. We know they are a good side because you don’t get promoted if you are not.

“I am confident in the team and I know we will be able to give them a game.”

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