Lasswade RFC Champions – Season in reflection

Monday March 9th 2015

After a slightly shaky start, losing three of the first four away games, albeit by small margins, Lasswade pulled it together and have not lost a league game since Dalziel on 18 October.

Lasswade have shown themselves to be worthy winners. With one match to play Lasswade are 10 points clear of Preston Lodge who are now confirmed as runners up and of the five other teams in top six only West of Scotland managed to beat them and that was at their home and by just three points.

Lasswade President, Ian Barr is over the moon that the team has bounced back immediately from the disappointment of relegation last year to win this league in such style. He pays tribute to the Coaches, Bernie Hennessey and Craig Adam who have shown themselves to be both capable and dedicated to the task and earning the respect of the players.

He is proud of and congratulates all his players but gives particular mention to Mark Billingham. As Lasswade’s captain on four occasions he has delivered three titles, a promotion and two National Shields and must surely be one of the most successful captains in the Club’s 84-year history.

Barr is also particularly proud to point out that all but two of the present coaches and players are “home-grown” having played in the Club’s youth teams before moving up to senior rugby. They are a testament ot the Club’s contribution to and investment in youth rugby in the area.

Looking forward to next season, Barr knows that while renewing some old friendly but serious rivalries such as Falkirk, Whitecraigs and Greenock Wanderers, the going will be even tougher in National Two.

It’s reassuring that most if not all of this year’s team will be available next year but that is not to say that Lasswade doesn’t need more players and the Club welcomes anyone willing to give rugby at Hawthornden try, especially as it moves into a higher league.

Captain Mark Billingham also emphasises the long and strong connection that almost of this year’s team have with the Club including himself.

He points out that his team-mates have shown resilience and persistence, recovering from the early disappointing results and regaining ground, just as several times this season they have fallen behind in a game but have stuck at it for the full eighty minutes to take the points. He recognises some degree of luck with fewer injuries than in other seasons, meaning more consistent selection and stronger team understanding.

Billingham praises the Coaches equally and as complementing each other; forwards and backs; “good cop and bad cop” ( though he didn’t say who is which!). He adds his extra gratitude and respect for Craig Adam who has ably taken on more responsibilities when his co-coach’s work commitments got in the way.

Billingham is also grateful for the support of his Vice-Captain Donald Hearn and all of his players and looks forward to playing with them next season – and anyone else who wants to sign up.

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