Coach Bailey in a confident mood as Old Streets prepare for new season
Hackney-based rugby club aiming for mid-table finish
Old Streetonians head coach David Bailey is looking forward to the club’s new season in London Two North East, and is confident that his side can finish mid-table.
Last season, Old Streets survived by finishing fourth-from bottom, but having learned from that experience and having gained some new players, Bailey has set his sights higher.
“I think that we have what it takes to finish two or three positions higher than last season,” he said.
“We survived by the skin of our teeth last year, and we need to establish ourselves in this division.
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“This is such a tough league and quite a few teams get promoted and then relegated as they can’t cope with the standard, but we want to stay here.
“There is a big gap between the London Three and London Two leagues in terms of standards.
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“Just one league up is London One, which I think is pretty much semi-professional rugby, which shows just how far the club has come.”
Bailey has overseen pre-season training at the club’s new Hackney Marshes Centre base and the coach says there is a real buzz around the club.
“It’s fantastic to have brand-new facilities,” he said.
“It’s great to be able to entertain our opposition after the game and have well-kept pitches and a modern clubhouse.
“We have had lots of players training over the summer and we are happy to have attracted so many people to the club.”
Old Streets played their penultimate pre-season game at the weekend when they visited Upminster, and even though the away side won, Bailey insists it was more about the performance and players getting the chance to play.
“We played the game in four quarters,” he said.
“And although we won, it was more about seeing what our players could do and giving them a chance to play.”
This weekend, Old Streets play their final pre-season fixture when they host Chiswick.
“This week we play a side who are at the same level as us,” said Bailey.
“They play in London Two South West, so it be a good chance to play against decent opposition before the start of the season.”
Old Streets begin their league campaign on September 10 when they travel to arch-rivals Enfield.
However, Bailey admits that he doesn’t know who will be in his starting XV for the clash yet.
“I haven’t got a strong idea of who will start that game,” he said.
“There are still places up for grabs and I expect some new players will come into the squad, as well as some players leaving.
“Enfield are a good side and they have been playing at this level for some years. But I think we have what it takes to match them.”