Andy Deacon column: Don't let quiet times fool you
THIS stage of the season can be very dangerous.
It can feel as though not much is happening, sometimes almost too quiet.
And any coach has to strike out that feeling as quickly as possible, to make sure it does not take hold.
We still have two months and seven matches of our campaign left – a big old chunk.
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So our season is anything but quiet, but that feeling can sometimes creep in, just because the season is into a roll.
The way to stop the players thinking we can coast to the end of the season is by keeping things fresh, keeping training sessions short and sharp – and also by not overdoing it on the contact.
Funny result syndrome can easily catch on as well, as teams start realising they are either fighting for their lives or sniffing a promotion chance.
Things can very quickly turn on their head in any given contest, so you've got to be right on your guard.
That will be the case right through the levels for teams in our region, but it certainly applies to Cinderford as well.
Last season we finished eighth – we want to improve on that to register another season of progress.
We can still finish fifth or sixth, which would realise our aim, but to do that we've got to keep hold of that focus.
Switch off for just a second and you can be caught out – so don't let the time of year, the improving weather or even the odd quiet week fool you.
HARD TO FIND FAULT DESPITE DISAPPOINTING FINAL SCORE
LOOKING back through Saturday’s 41-37 home defeat to Esher, I can’t fault my players.
It is just one of those game that honestly could have swung either way.
We powered over the line with the final play, but were held up.
Ground that ball, we win the game and maybe we’re looking at things in a different light altogether.
So I have told the players to keep their heads up this week – and to keep pushing forward with our attacking gameplan.
It’s always a balance of course, but as the grounds firm up then we should be taking advantage, expanding our game.
Our players really relish that, and that’s probably slightly unusual for Cinderford when you look at the club’s traditional, tight approach.
But we’ve got to embrace the attacking side of our game, and I am confident we can make it pay pretty big dividend.
CUP DUO ARE A TRUE INSPIRATION
DRYBROOK and Newent should be the inspiration for every club across the county right now.
They are both having fantastic seasons, and congratulations must go to them for the great cup runs.
Both teams are just one win away from Twickenham: what a day for Gloucestershire that would be if they make it.
The crazy thing about both these clubs is that neither of them were around when I played local rugby!
Drybrook are a very well-established club now, and they are thriving.
Newent’s biggest challenge will be to follow suit on that, and ensure they make this hugely impressive season count.
They are running away with Gloucester One, they have an excellent coaching team and a group of committed, hungry players.
Next season, when they will surely be playing in Gloucester Premier, will clearly be a massive new test.
And they will face a fair few big decisions about how they approach that level.
It is a definite step up, and the level at Gloucester Premier is a good, solid standard, with tough teams and exciting rugby.
Their success will draw potential new players to them, no doubt, and the coaching team will have to make some calls about whether they look for new recruits or stick with what they have.
There is probably a balance to be struck, but whatever happens they will face a stabilising process at the start of the campaign as they adjust to the new level.
Hopefully though, they will attack all this with a trophy in their back pocket, collected at Twickenham itself.