UTTOXETER Rugby Club have appointed James Gill as their new captain ahead of the forthcoming campaign set to start in September – with director of rugby Donald Hayes stepping down.
Former skipper Mike Davies has also been forced to quit rugby after failing to recover from a serious knee injury.
Winger Gill’s first competitive game in charge comes on the opening day of the season with a home fixture against Burntwood in Midlands Three West (North).
Following the departure of club stalwart Hayes, Gill could be left with greater responsibility if the position remains vacant, but the newly appointed captain has an idea on how he wants to run the club.
“As captain I intend to impose a more professional approach to how the club is run”, he said.
“The numbers turning up to training must improve, and we need more players in the club.
“In an ideal world we would like to be running three senior sides, allowing steady progression through the ranks.”
Gill, himself a long-serving Uttoxeter player, has paid tribute to the work put in by Hayes as the Town have stabilised at Midlands Three level.
“Donald’s been instrumental in the success the club has had over recent years and achieved Uttoxeter’s highest ever position in the league structure and so undoubtedly bows out on a high and will be missed by the club,” said the skipper.
“With Donald’s departure there will be changes in the way the seniors are organised.
“Previously, much more responsibility was placed on the captain, but with the appointment of Donald then much of the roles and responsibilities were moved from the captain to the director of rugby.
“It’s therefore probable the the captain’s responsibility will increase should the position of director of rugby remain vacant.”
In previous seasons, the Town have struggled to field two teams regularly, and at times have even struggled to put out a full first XV squad, but Gill is aiming to use younger players to help eradicate those problems.
He said: “A lot of youth players lose interest and don’t make the step up to senior rugby and that’s a big area that we need to focus on.
“The main problem is getting people to play regularly. We have quite a few players who are interested in playing a few games here and there, but quite often that leaves the 2nd XV in limbo.
“We need to bring in a lot of new players in one go to give the 2nds a sense of identity and create a good atmosphere for those who are looking to progress through the ranks.”
The Town have been hampered further by the departure of Matt Nance, who has transferred to Stoke after being lured by the opportunity to play at a higher level, with a goal of reaching the National Leagues.
Dave Chell, who is suffering from a long-term knee injury, is also set to miss the next campaign, leaving the club short of forwards.
“We were looking forward to getting Matt back in the first XV as he was a great asset to the club but he was lured away by the opportunity to play at a higher level,” said Gill. “However we achieved our highest ever league position last season and Matt took no part.”
Anyone interested in playing for the club should contact Gill on 07805 715069. No previous experience is required.
Chairman: Glyn Wilson
President: Kelvin Edwards
Honorary Secretary: Steve Woolley
Honorary Treasurer: Paul Simon
Sponsorship Secretary: Julian Beattie/Paul Bain
Patrons Secretary: Graham Gill
Social Secretary: Dave Chell
Press Officer: Paul Milward
Director of Rugby: Position Vacant
1st XV Captain: James Gill
2nd XV Captain: Position Vacant