Club Focus: The only way is up for Thornensians

Thornensians Rugby Team Picture: Andrew Roe
Thornensians Rugby Team Picture: Andrew Roe

With a blend of youth and experience, Thornensians are ready to scrum down for an almighty push for promotion.

Little more than a month after rounding off their Yorkshire Three season with a 17-10 win at Aireborough, the Coulman Road club will return to pre-season training this week.

Thornensians' Daniel Pearce wins the lineout against Goole. Picture: Andrew Roe

Thornensians' Daniel Pearce wins the lineout against Goole. Picture: Andrew Roe

That’s because promotion is very much on the agenda.

At a recent players’ meeting the ambitions of Thorne’s rugby management board were spelt out to the club’s youthful squad.

Senior coach John Pearce will be supported by former Barbarians and South African centre Donovan Van Vuuren for backs work.

Andy Gravil, a former England Colts and national league player who hails from Thorne, will also add to the playing options and assist with forwards coaching.

The message is clear. Thornensians are going for it.

“Last season we finished sixth in Yorkshire Three and we progressed as a club,” said president Brian Willis, a Coulman Road stalwart.

“That followed on from the success we had the previous season when we reached the finals of both the Yorkshire Silver and South Yorkshire trophy competitions.

“We had hoped to get promotion to Yorkshire Two, but we’re now in a very strong position to achieve that next season.

“As a club we have ambitions of getting into Yorkshire One and working our way through the Northern leagues.

“The club has good quality young players in both the first and second teams, with a Veterans side that feel they are the best in the county,” continued Willis. “The time is now right to move ahead as one club.

“John Pearce is our superb senior coach and is instilling great cohesion, improved skills and, most importantly, ‘a team pattern of play’.

“He and team manager Kevin Bull are making the perfect duo.

“Mark Lloyd, as director of rugby, has established these structures and provided great leadership and wisdom.

“The strength of the side is less in individuals, but in the way they play to the coach’s team plan.

“Our forwards have improved their game immeasurably, thus making opportunities for our talented backs.”

Thorne are building from the bottom up. They have strong links with Trinity Academy, and youth development is at the forefront of the club’s ambitious plan to climb the RFU ladder.

“We have a number of talented young players, many of whom have the potential to play at county and higher league levels,” said Willis.

“Obviously we’d like the vast majority to stay with us and help us progress through theYorkshire and Northern leagues.

“Our mini-junior section is currently being rebuilt by Andy Evans, the chair of the mini-junior section, and next season we’ll have under 9s, 10s, 11s, 12s and 13s teams.

“Trinity Academy is a main supplier of players and excellent links exist through Dave Potts, a former club captain and PE teacher at the school.

“Since the club was formed in 1939 it has always been a central part of the local community,” added Willis, a former Thorne Grammar School pupil.

“That will never change. “There’s lots of people working very hard to bring success to this club.

“It is our 75th anniversary next year and we would like to celebrate it in style.”

Brett Hunt, last season’s leading try scorer, has been appointed first team captain for 2013/14. Luke Marsden will be club captain.

Pre-season training starts on Tuesday night at Coulman Road (7pm).

Any players interested in joining Thornensians should contact Kevin Bull (07879 667413) or John Pearce (01302 831347).

At mini-junior level, Andy Evans (07799 308073) is the contact person.

For more information about the club, or to arrange bookings, ring 01405 812746.