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Now Newark are bobbing along


When Newark Rugby Club won their opening league match of the campaign, following their travails in recent seasons, someone suggested that my headline should be Points Before Christmas.

But, under former Nottingham Corsairs coaches Bob Fowkes (57) and Bob Nashed (53) the good times have continued to roll, and the Blue and Whites are now up at the other end of the table after just avoiding relegation last season.

The new boys have been coaching together for more than a decade, and the three of us sat down in the number one dressing room at Kelham Road to reflect on the first half of the season.

Their’s is a great double act, and they chatted away, often at the same time like an old married couple.

Fowkes: “We have carried on winning because we have got into the habit of winning.

“One of the things we talk about all the time is how to win, and we have got enough good players out on that pitch who know what they are doing, and they are a really determined group of players.

“I was about to say that that is something that we’ve worked on, but we haven’t actually had to do that because that spirit was already there.”

Nashed: “In terms of improving as a side there was a very steep learning curve to begin with, but now we can go back and start flattening out that curve as we go along.

Fowkes: “There were already some powerful influences in the team, and we have added one or two others who have made a big difference.

“There’s certainly a lot more structure about the side now, and they’re playing within that structure. If something goes wrong during the course of the game, they can simply go back to that basic structure and start to go forward from that point again.”

Nashed: “We’ve changed a few things, but there’s a sense of reformation within the club, and everyone is pulling together, and there’s a great team feeling throughout the whole club.”

Fowkes: “We have also got a superb fitness coach in Alex Chapman, and he has really improved things as well as the players are now a lot stronger.”

Nashed: “We worked on a certain move in the Thursday night training session before our first game against Kettering, and it came off in the first few minutes of the match, and that is a great feeling.

“It can sometimes — and usually does — take weeks before that happens, but when it happens on day one you think that there might be something special there.”

Fowkes: “The target at the start of the season was to get to 14 points as quickly as possible, to ensure safety. Anything on top of that would be considered a bonus.

“That is the only target we have set, and the lads have all bought into it.”

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