Rugby: Bletchley target victory to make it a day to remember

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BLETCHLEY’S players will hope to match celebrations off the pitch at Manor Fields this Saturday when they face one of their biggest tests of the season against Coney Hill.

The Gloucestershire side visit on the day of Bletchley’s Late Summer Lunch, with all club members, former players and guests getting together for an afternoon meal and mini beer festival.

It promises to be a great occasion, and it will be made even better if Bletchley can pick up their second win of the South West 1 East league season against a Coney Hill side in the running for promotion.

Bletchley’s only victory this term came in their last home game against Cheltenham, but they couldn’t carry that form into their trip to Salisbury last Saturday and lost for the third time in four outings.

Nevertheless the signs are good that the Manor Fields men can hold their heads above water this season, with three teams currently below them in the table.

Head coach Stuart Van Roooyen is determined to see Bletchley stay out of the bottom three all season, but to do that they might need to take points off a Coney Hill side who go into the match with three wins out of four. Their only defeat came at the hands of league leaders Bracknell.

“With the side we took with us down to Salisbury, we played very well,” said Van Roooyen. “We defended awesomely for most of the game – it was only in the last 10 minutes that the floodgates opened.

“I can’t fault the players we had out at all. None of the guys played badly, but for the team we had out we got what we deserved. We had to make about eight changes to the side that beat Cheltenham because of injuries and things.

“Saturday will be very tough but we’re going to have a big support behind us and we could get a result. We beat Coney Hill once last year and they beat us. We’re very strong at home. We only lost to Bracknell by three points.”

Van Roooyen is adamant that if Bletchley can field their strongest side most weeks, then they can start to look up the table rather than down it this season, with a more favourable run of fixtures now on the horizon.

“We’ve had a really tough first five games and the only bad one was when we lost at Reading,” he said. “Taking one win from those games is good, but if we can come through the five with two wins that would be fantastic.

“I’ve done a lot of research and I really think we can push up the table. Let’s wait and see in November when the real men turn out.”

>> Olney and Milton Keynes have had contrasting starts to the Southern Counties North league season. City head to Slough on Saturday looking for their first win at the third attempt, while Olney visit Reading Abbey hoping to maintain their 100 per cent start to the campaign.