Birmingham & Solihull’s Jack Preece is currently celebrating a 2008/09 rugby treble.
Not only did he contribute significantly to his club sides’ promotion winning National Division 2 campaign – 18 appearances and 4 tries (including a match-winner against the Cornish All Blacks in the fourth round of the EDF Energy National Trophy) - but the young Bees flanker-come-hooker also secured County Championship honours both on and off the pitch.
Helping steer Gloucestershire’s U20s to a second Championship title Preece took to the hallowed Twickenham turf on May 8 having already bagged the Junior County Cup with Hucclecote U17s a fortnight earlier, as their forwards coach!
“I have been lucky this year, winning the league and the U20s and in my first year of coaching, the County Cup” commented Preece on a fantastic few months “...it’s opened doors for me - from next season I’ll be coaching my local senior side, Old Centralians, which I’m really looking forward to.”
A convincing 29pts to 15 victory against Yorkshire retained the County Championship cup for the 19-year-old Gloucesterman a feat not gone unnoticed by his County Head Coach, Paul Morris. “We have been successful over the last two years for several reasons,” he said.
“A significant one being the number of players we have playing at a national level and Jack is at the very top end of that with Birmingham & Solihull.
“He has always been a stand out openside at our age level but his ability to also play hooker gave the squad balance and extra versatility. He has continued to improve as a player in the time I have known him and his technical skills and physical improvement are notable.”
Despite his tender years passing on his experience is something he is keen to do. Having helped guide Hucclecote to trophy success in only his first term as a coach he has the bug, currently undertaking his Level One qualifications.
Preece is all set for the task at hand – coaching senior men’s rugby at Old Centralians, his former junior club: “a better structure and higher fitness levels will aid initially,” added Preece on his plans for the season “and I’m definitely looking to pass down the knowledge [Bees Head Coach] Russell [Earnshaw] has taught me over the last two years.”
And as for the industrious young man’s own future? “I came to Bees at 17 and although I’ve still got loads to learn I hope to do well next year. Competing for the No. 2 shirt against [Bees captain] Ben [Phillips] was a real pleasure this season and I couldn’t have asked for a better player to help me improve.”
With time on his side and already a veritable feast of success behind him it’s no doubt onwards and upwards for the likeable Preece, both as a player and aspiring coach and for that he only has to thank himself.