We've heard the views of the Coach and the Chairman, now let's get a current player's perspective. I asked Sam Llewellyn for his views on lockdown, how he felt last season had gone and what his hopes are for next season. His reply is very eloquent and i have told him he can takeover the Website from me when he finishes playing.
When you are living out these experiences and you’re in the moment I think it’s sometimes hard to grasp the enormity of the situation, in a very British way you kind of just get up and get on with it. It’s not until we look back in years to come I think it will sink what a massive part of history we have lived through. We will all have our own stories to tell about that spring when everyone was locked down at home in the boiling hot weather either; trying to keep the kids occupied, which DIY project you could undertake next, what day and time was best to go and do the big shop at Tesco and having your first drink at 11am on a Monday didn’t seem that unreasonable. I actually remained in work through out as I work in utilities, at first it was quite daunting going out to work when there was a lot more uncertainty about the virus; how easily it was passed on from person to person and the effect it could have on your body. So any sort of training for rugby and keeping fit was at the back of my mind as I’m sure was the case for many. As the weeks went on the anxiety eased somewhat, I managed to get hold of a few bits and bobs to keep ticking over to some degree in the garden. There was plenty of workout inspiration on social media. So with my dumbbells, kettle bell and skipping rope I muddled through some workouts and tried to stay out of the biscuit tin. I dread to think how much more junk food and alcohol would have been consumed if I was put on furlough, maybe that was a blessing in disguise! Now that restrictions have been lifted enabling exercise outdoors with another person, some of the boys have been meeting up and getting some good work done. There’s nothing like training alongside one of your team mates for that added healthy competition with each other or that encouraging word in your ear when you’re ready to throw in the towel. I’ve found that immensely helpful as I sometimes struggle to motivate myself to push that hard on my own. I think we almost take Bill Carey for granted, he is ever present with llanharan since he’s finished playing and always on the end of the phone for anyone to provide session ideas and point you in the right direction. I am certain he enjoys watching the boys suffer! As for how long we will be restricted to training like this.. who knows. It’s all speculation at the moment but I have heard November/ December time thrown around for a start time on the season which seems a long way away. With regards to our form as a team, the lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for us. We had some big games left like Fairwater home and away - there was some mild fighting talk from some Fairwater club men who had come down to the Dairy to watch our clash with Canton. We were hoping to pick up some victories and climb up the league to a more respectable mid table finish, ready to dust ourselves off and go hard again at next seasons campaign. You’ve got to feel for the teams at the tops of their respective leagues who just had it all written off like that. Personally I felt like we had the beating of any of the teams in that division on our day. It’s just a shame we couldn’t hit the ground running last season but with new coaches Gareth and Andy coming in its understandable that it took the boys a little while to get used to way they wanted to play the game. We’re not the brightest bunch.. so one or two things did take a little bit longer than the coaches would have anticipated but in that Canton game in March there was a real swagger about us. As soon as that game kicked off I could just feel that we were going to win that day. It was a great feeling and a positive sign. The new coaches have been great for us, their coaching styles complimenting each other perfectly. It’s not a complicated style of play they have put in place for us and when it clicked on match days we played some great rugby and scored some great tries. I think more time together as a unit will help us massively and our core group of players have been together through some tough times over the last few seasons - the likes of Scott Jones, Owain Howe, Myself, Tom Harris and Tom Buckle were regulars in the 2015/16 championship season.Not forgetting the experience of Lloyd Thomas and Craig Burton. These players can start to drive us back up the leagues to where we belong. It’s also great to see the youngsters coming from the youth pushing for starting first team places, with players like Louis Stansbury, Chris Osbourne, Alex Newbold, Lloyd Gregory and Leon Burton becoming match day regulars and plenty more chomping at our heels in training and in the second XV who took some good scalps. Anyway, that’s enough from me. Well done if you’ve got this far. I hope to see you all sooner rather than later in a packed out rugby club bar for a pint when this pandemic will be nothing but a distant memory.
Sam (aka Bubble)