End of Season Review Part 2
Reviewing the seasons goals, Rhys stated beating rivals Newport twice was a goal set and achieved by the squad. They wanted a strong home record, and he believed the team had done that, especially considering in the home games that were lost, they were all within a score. He continued by stating the squad wanted to make the Ciner Glass Community Stadium a fortress where teams fear coming to play against Ebbw vale next season and Rhys believes the squad have already set a good marker for next season.
Both Joe and Rhys were quick to emphasise it had been a great effort by the whole squad. Whilst Joe did not feel it was fair to single out any individuals, he was pleased to see the growth in players such as Gethin Williams, Carrick McDonough, Evan Lloyd and Dylan Bartlett and was also happy to see the experienced players, like Luke Garrett, Ethan Phillips and Dom Franchi to name but a few, play at the level they did during the season. However, again, Joe emphasised the whole squad had been fantastic and there was not one player who did not perform well.
Looking at competition for places, Joe was happy to see players such as Kieran Meek and Ryan Jenkins join Ebbw halfway through the season. All the players who joined the team throughout the season, have provided the squad with an extra dimension and have brought real strength and depth. He acknowledged the signings would be good for players such as Evan Lloyd, as competition was healthy and it would bring out the best in all players, as they would know they would have to train and play well to ensure inclusion on match day.
Joe also believed the same went for himself and Rhys. Rhys returning to Ebbw and being made co-captain was fantastic. Having another squad member that could help shoulder the captain`s burden and ensuring if he was not 100% for whatever reason, Rhys is on hand to ensure there would be no dip in performance.
Joe relayed that there were no players in the team with an ego, everyone gets on well and is willing to work hard. Ian Mitchell, a sports psychologist for England football, had visited the club, to carry out a couple of sessions with the squad. Ian pinned down what the squad wanted to be as a team and their values. Each squad member was honest, there is a relentlessness in training and work ethic on and off the field and all the players were tight and all together. These foundations, have this season and going forward, put the squad in a good place to perform.
Like Joe, Rhys did not hold back with his praise for the entire squad. He had not played previously with younger players such as Evan Lloyd and Carrick McDonough and was also happy to see the more experienced players such as Lewis Young all perform at the levels they did. Rhys believed the experience obtained by the younger players, such as Chad Thomas, amongst others, would be invaluable going forward. He also praised the impact the players who joined during the season had on the squad and how well they had settled in.
Looking forward to the future, Joe was in a positive mood. He explained there is a couple of exciting developments that may be coming out in the next couple of weeks about the changes of the club and facilities, which is going to make Ebbw Vale a real good hub for rugby in the area and community. He advised everyone at the club wants it to be a real focus point within the community. Joe and the squad all love playing for Ebbw and he thought everything about the club, including the backroom staff, the coaches, the players and the clubhouse was top tier in the league. Therefore, this should transition on to the pitch and he believed Ebbw will be be fighting for silverware on both fronts next season.
Rhys advised to finish on a loss is disappointing, however, the squad will enjoy their time off, but every player will be chomping at the bit to get back and right the wrongs for next season.
Both Rhys and Joe concluded by thanking everyone at the club for their hard work. They also wanted to thank the supporters for their incredible support this season and hope to see everyone again next season.
Report written by Alex Kinsella-Evans