Cents issue an open invitation as squad starts to take shape
WITH key personnel missing and the start of the season looming, Old Centralians are actively searching for more players.
As the Painswick Road side prepare their assault on National League Three, a division they dared dream of playing in five years ago, the club are calling for more players, regardless of ability, to attend an open friendly on Saturday.
Fresh from a 52-19 pre-season win against Hereford last weekend, Old Cents face Ledbury at home (3pm).
The club are giving any new faces the chance to play rugby, on what will be a family fun day at the club.
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Player/coach Ben Slatter explained: "Ledbury are a couple of leagues below Hereford, so we are giving our seconds and thirds a go against them.
"It will be an open invitation side, and anyone who comes along to play will be given game time.
"There will also be a family fun day, including a barbecue and a bar near the pitch.
"We want to show people who we are as a club, what we have to offer. It's not just about rugby at Old Cents, we have something to offer families and kids too."
Despite a substantial number of promising signings, including Paul Knight, the injury and absence list has taken its toll.
Knight will join brother Dave, which captain Pete Willetts describes as 'great' for the club at all levels/
Scrum-half Paul has tremendous experience, having played for Gloucester, Sale, Pertemps Bees, England Counties and Cinderford.
Willetts said he was a big name in rugby in Gloucester to secure, and will attract other players to the club.
Old Cents have also signed Mark Marloe, a promising South African player who has come to the county to study from Ireland.
Ollie Locke has joined, moving from Matson. Bulldozing prop James Elliott has become more available for the club this season.
The former Hartpury man only played six fixtures last season due to work commitments, but is now able to prioritise his rugby.
Dean Harper, a flanker, has also returned to the side after major shoulder problems sidelined him for most of last season.
Slatter hailed the club atmosphere, and said that all players are 'mates'.
"I've been to rugby clubs where you have little cliques, but everyone in this club just wants to pay rugby together," he said.
"They go to the gym together, they train on Tuesdays and Wednesdays together, they socialise together, they take the mick out of each other, and they are there when times are tough."
"There were really good aspects to the Hereford match but there is still lots to work on, which is a good thing in a way.
"We had to get to grips with the new scrum laws. We were penalised initially, but once we got the timing right, our scrum looked strong.
"The seconds have been told by Pete (Willetts) that they have four weeks between now and the start of the season to take their chance, and prove they are capable."