Pumas on the prowl

Locks Heath Pumas, black, are making strides on and off the pitch. Picture: Innes Marlow

Locks Heath Pumas, black, are making strides on and off the pitch. Picture: Innes Marlow

Darren Bamford at full tilt. Picture: Keith Woodland (170435-0393)

Knight’s men take play-off race to the wire

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Forward-thinking Locks Heath Pumas are on the prowl.

The Hampshire two side are currently third in the table.

They are determined to push leaders Fareham Heathens and Petersfield all the way.

Experienced coaches Mike Ryan and Jim Pearce are working hard to improve the structure of the playing side.

It’s certainly paying dividends with increased numbers at training and a very professional approach to matches.

The likes of Harry Cripps, Freddie Hoare (formerly of Portsmouth) and Liam Moggeridge (ex-Gosport & Fareham) have joined up.

Their quality has been a big boost for the whole club – with other players able to develop and grow alongside them.

Now things are looking good on the field with potential being realised.

‘Up until this season everything has been a bit hit and miss with players very often just turning up to play,’ said Pearce.

‘We have tried to get them to be a bit more professional in their approach.

‘A lot of the players possess tremendous potential and we are trying to help develop that.

‘You can see the confidence of the players growing all the time.

‘We now have increased competition for places.

‘To help the players we have also started bringing in guest coaches to take sessions.

‘That is improving the way we do the basics and it is only a matter of time before we move up into a higher league.

‘We are trying to put the building blocks in place for that to happen.

‘On our day we have shown that we are capable of beating anyone in our current league.

‘As a club we are thriving and it is exciting times.

‘The players are starting to buy into the whole ethos and it is making a difference. In previous years we might get just high single figures at training now we are regularly getting 20.’

Chairman Richard Jones, with support from a number of volunteers, is putting in a lot of hard work to help take things forward.

Matches take place at Brookfield School while the club are also looking for somewhere to host youth rugby.

They need a venue that offers changing facilities, a pitch and a bar to maintain their community spirit.

Pumas insist, however, they will not lose sight of their traditional values.

Locks Heath pride themselves on – first and foremost – being a social rugby club.

That is reflected in a second team known as the ‘Angry Squirrels’ and an age-range of 18 to 50 in the players at the club.

Pearce added: ‘Importantly, though we are raising the bar on the playing side, off the field we still stick to our roots of being a social side.’

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