We at lancashirerugby.co.uk took some time today to have a chat with the Lancashire Senior XV Head Coach Mark Nelson who gave us some great insight to his and the Lancashire camp thoughts prior to Saturday’s encounter with neighbours Cheshire.
Hi Mark, Cheshire on Saturday, a tough task? Do you harbour any feelings of “we owe them one” following last season or is just another important game?
Cheshire will be the hardest of the matches so far, and whilst it is not directly a Semi-Final like it was at Sedgley Park last season, it will be the defining game in our campaign in the Northern group. In terms of the approach to the game we will be focussing on performance. It is generally, though not always, the case that the better you perform the better your chances of getting a favourable outcome. If you base your mentality on “we owe them one“ then that only serves to clutter judgement. They will have their own agenda and it is up to us to concentrate on the way we play and the accuracy of our performance throughout the 80 minutes. Both sets of players are familiar to each other and Heywood Road is a great ground so there will be a competitive edge to the game, in addition to it being a North West derby.
Are you happy with the squad after two hard fought victories with 30 players donning the Red & White so far is that a sign of the desire in the County and the players wanting to be involved?
The squad has been excellent in terms of attitude and approach to the campaign. Yes we’ve used 30 players and had to make some very tough decisions. It has been a bitter pill for a number of lads and very hard for the selectors when it comes to leaving a player out of the squad who has been involved the previous week. The Players, Coaches and Management are all volunteers ,which is unique in the top end of the “community/semi-pro game“ so it speak volumes of the commitment after a long hard season and passion for the County. The effort and commitment during the game is undiminished because they are playing as amateurs, and none of them are pressed men, this is another example of the honour representing the county holds for everyone involved. It is worth noting that if you total up the number of players who have represented the county at all age groups, both men and women, boys and girls, that is a very good performance indicator of the value of county rugby amongst the playing body within Lancashire. This year in the men’s game with the Royals and the Senior Men and Women’s Squad over 90 players have played representative rugby.
Any comments on the news that Hertfordshire have potentially been docked points after fielding an ineligible player and seemingly putting your old foes Cornwall in the driving seat to make the final yet again?
It does appear that Hertfordshire will be docked points, although no league table as yet has shown that. The South Group fixtures has a clear decider between Cornwall and Hertfordshire this Saturday, unless of course the point deduction is confirmed. In truth it seems that Cornwall have cornered the market in the South I think we can safely assume that this will be the Duchy’s 5th final on the bounce. This is no doubt music to the ears of the RFU as there will be the usual migration of Trelawney’s army to England. For those uncertain of what I mean, many people in Cornwall think they are an Independent state, even more so than Welsh & the Scots! So whoever represents the North in the final will at least have a crowd watching them, albeit a very partisan one.