West Norfolk skipper wants mid-table finish

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West Norfolk Rugby Club captain Paul Bridges believes a mid-table finish will lay the foundations for a successful season next time around.

The Gatehouse Lane outfit head into the winter break ninth in the London 3 Eastern Counties standings.

After a difficult start, where West Norfolk’s lack of squad depth was cruelly exposed after losing regular starter Jake Richardson to a serious leg break, the club have began to find their feet.

Reflecting on the first half of the season, Bridges, who is in his second year as skipper at the club, said: “We are targeting a solid mid-table position for the end of this season.

“This will be an improvement on last year, but also allows us to improve the following year.

“A tough away fixture to Woodbridge kicks off 2018 for us.

“However, I’m fully confident that we can apply the momentum we have built over the previous month and grind out a positive result.”

The West Norfolk skipper is refusing to let his charges rest on their laurels over the festive period as they look to build some continuity in the club’s ranks.

“We are looking to continue training throughout the xmas period to improve fitness and ensure we continue to build continuity within the side,” said Bridges.

“Continuity for us is key as earlier in the season it cost us in regards to not being able to play to our game plan or travelling to opposition lacking in player numbers.

“This year and last season has been a massive transitional period for the club with many new players joining, especially young players, which is a positive as it allows us to build for the future.”

Bridges added: “We need to improve our line-out especially when faced with teams who have natural line-out jumpers.

“But our scrum has been a key weapon this year and dominance in this has led to some crucial tries at times where in previous years we have struggled against bigger sides.

“Fitness, as I have said, will be key and could be the difference in finishing games well when other teams become tired.”

Although the club currently find themselves in the lower reaches of the table, Bridges insists there are plenty of positives from the first five months of a tough campaign.

Bridges said: “I felt our first win of the season against Lowesfoft and Yarmouth was a crucial moment in the season.

“We turned a corner, not only in our attitudes, but it gave us the belief that we were able to execute our game plan and we could compete at this level.

“Our Friday night fixture against Ely under floodlights was a great success for the club as a whole and, despite the defeat, our game away at Stowmarket was one of our best performances of the season.

“We went on to convincingly beat Newmarket and, although we lost 16-7 at home to Holt at the weekend, the players gave it their all and adapted well to the changing playing situation.

“As a team it finally showed that we can pull together even when up against it, playing some exciting rugby which is important for team spirit.”