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Birmingham & Solihull Bees in shape for new rugby season

A return to Portway, a new Director of Rugby, a new squad and a new support team are all in place for the new season, at Birmingham and Solihull Rugby Club.

A return to Portway, a new Director of Rugby, a new squad and a new support team are all in place for the new season, at Birmingham and Solihull Rugby Club.

Eugene Martin, Director of Rugby, has put his mark on the new-look squad with the help of forwards coach, Henno Venter, based upon the belief that, with the combination of a nucleus of retained players, bolstered by some new additions from a variety of sources, will give the Bees every chance of being truly competitive in the fourth tier.

20-year old Will Radburn, who was brought up through the junior set up at the Bees before moving to Worcester Warriors, has been signed as club captain.

Bees longest serving player, Matt Long has re-signed for another year in the front row along with fans' favourite, Rob Connolly.

Youngsters, Liam Dunne and Rob Gregg have also been retained after making their first team debuts last season while in the backs, Jack Pons, Jack Jolly, and Jon Ford will all be familiar faces from the Damson Park era.

Local recruitment has been on the top Martin's agenda, with back row options Darren Forder and Alex Fan signing from Nuneaton. In the back division, Jimmy Oliver and Steven Leach, fly half and centre respectively, have signed from Camp Hill.

Alongside Matt Long and Will Radburn in the front row is ex-Stourbridge prop Michael Hill who will hope to get a result against his old club on the first day of the season. Other additions to the pack have been made with Michael Stephens (back row), Joe Newton-Taylor (prop), Matt Spink (prop), Finlay Sinclair (hooker), and Ben Spokes (back row).

There are seven new recruits in the backs too; Oscar Heath and Rob Brown join from Rugby Lions, with ex-Bourneville winger, Dan Barrett, along with Harry Sanders (unattached), Chris Fensome (Warriors Academy), Lewis Beaty and Ollie Blundell (Bees Colts).

With the new Director of Rugby has come a new management team - Henno Venter (forwards coach), Lorcan McGee (physio), Dave Radburn (team manager), Michael Jinks (match day manager), Terry Dight (fourth official), and Rona Higgins (masseuse) will all be an integral part of the Bees set up and success in the new season.

"We have made some major changes to our squad from last season our philosophy is now very much centred on young, local talent who are looking to wear the shirt with pride with a real aspiration to win the league and get back to where we were a season ago," said Martin.

"Along with some keen local lads that played for us last year and the experience of Mash (Matt Long) and Rob Connolly, we've got a great platform to build upon. We have been very focused in our pre-season training and played our first match last weekend away at Dings. We are now looking at the first league match at home to Stourbridge on  September 1 and we have another chance to put the new squad through its paces at a final pre-season friendly this Saturday."

Birmingham and Solihull Rugby Club play their final warm up game at Portway tomorrow, Saturday, August 25 against National Division One side, Macclesfield, kick off 3pm. Everybody is welcome to the Portway ground for this match, with free entry to all.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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