UCS Old Boys looking to push for promotion, says Boxer

UCS Old Boys' Tom Arnold

UCS Old Boys' Tom Arnold - Credit: Archant

A second successive relegation left UCS Old Boys reeling this time last year, heading into the unknown with an impending season in Herts/Middlesex Division One.

Fortunately, three was to be the magic number for the Old Boys as they recovered from their slide down the league pyramid and established themselves as a mid-table side in 2015/16, finishing seventh, despite ending the season with two defeats.

Now UCS are hoping to build upon the foundations set last season, with a particular focus on the backs, having conceded 653 points last season, third only to table-proppers Bank of England (676) and Old Millhillians (762).

Nick Gourlay – formerly of Loughborough University – is the new backs coach, while the squad has been bolstered with the signing of Lloyd Hughes, a ‘high quality outside centre’, who has moved from Wigan to take up a teaching job at UCS.

Meanwhile inside centre, Gwyn Edwards is available for selection after a year out with a knee injury and Tom Arnold (pictured) takes the armband as the new captain, while centre Aled Davies moved to Tabard in the close season.

A summer change at the helm saw director of rugby Geoff Boxer assume the role of first XV coach from the outgoing Carl Bradshaw, who stepped down, citing family commitments.

“After two consecutive relegations, last year we stabilised in Herts/Middlesex Division One,” said Boxer.

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“With that experience for our younger players under their belts, and a mid-table finish, we would expect to press on this season and challenge for promotion.

“The pack is well-drilled and we expect to be a more potent attacking threat this season.”

The Old Boys host Hendon in the season opener on Saturday at the UCS Playing Fields. The fixture will be preceded by a Vets game at 1pm.

n To book tickets, contact Trever Turton (treverturton@hotmail.com) or Gideon Bard (aahlebard@hotmail.com).

Tickets include food, drink and entertainment and the club are especially keen to welcome Old Boys of the school, UCS supporters and friends of players for the opening fixture of the season.