30 August 2005
Changes have been a foot this summer at Coney Hill, but the Metz Way club are confident the new season will kick-off on a winning note.
The North Gloucestershire outfit head into their season-opening game - round one of the Powergen National Trophy - against Swanage & Wareham ringing the changes with two new coaches, a new fitness coach and a new skipper all on board.
The credentials of the new recruits are, however, impressive and pre-season results speak volumes.
Hartpury College's Phil Greenaway, who has played for Welsh Premiership side Bedwas and England Colts, takes over the backs division while former Bristol, Gloucester and Lydney man Mark Irish will concentrate on the forwards. Tom McLoughlan of Bristol Rugby also comes on board as fitness coach.
Steve King will steer the team on the field, taking over the captaincy reins from Leon Liggett who joined National League 3 South side Lydney this summer.
Rugby manager Wes Hall said: "We have been through a summer of changes, but the new coaches and players have settled in fantastically well and we are expecting to hit the ground running.
"The new coaches have had a lot of time to get to know the players and get them ready for the season and the club has already seen the fruits of their success in a handful of pre-season tournaments.
"We won a tens tournament in Droitwick, a round-robin competition in Stratford and we played Coventry side Barkers Butt last week and won. These games have given our side a good chance to test themselves against clubs of all levels.
"I honestly think we have got the best coaching set-up in the county and Steve is certainly the best man for the captaincy job. He brings a wealth of experience with him."
Success in cup rugby was plentiful last season for Coney Hill. Despite narrowly missing out on promotion from South West 2 West, there was much to cheer about with victory in the final of the North Gloucestershire Combination Senior Cup. Coney Hill also reached the semi-finals of the Gloucestershire RFU RoadChef Senior County Cup.
Hall is hoping last season's cup success will continue this term in the Powergen National Trophy.
He added: "We did really well in cup competitions last season and although we were gutted to lose out on not getting promoted, we had a successful season.
"We start the new season very confident and that extends into the Powergen National Trophy.
"We expect Swanage & Wareham to be tough, but I think we will beat them at home. Any team has to play well to beat us on our home turf."
Powergen National Trophy, first round
Barnstaple v Clifton
Chinnor v Reading Abbey
Clevedon v St Ives
Coney Hill v Swanage & Wareham
Maidenhead v High Wycombe
Oakmedians v Aylesbury
Torquay Athletic v Penryn
Hornets or Yatton v Spartans
Powergen Junior Vase, preliminary round
Bristol Telephones v Old Elizabethans
Cainscross v Tetbury
Castle Cary v Somerton
Gloucester All Blues v Hartpury College
Gloucester Civil Service v Ross On Wye
Kingswood v Cotham Park
Minchinhampton v Smiths (Industries)
Old Technicians v Callington
Pilning v Bristol Aeroplane Co
Roseland v Veor
Westbury on Severn v Brockworth