Croot refuses to look too far ahead despite Eagles’ great start

Action from Oundle's opening-day success over Old Northamptonians. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Action from Oundle's opening-day success over Old Northamptonians. Pictures by Alison Bagley

As opening-day statements go, Oundle’s 46-17 success over Old Northamptonians is quite a strong one.

Their visitors to Occupation Road are always one of the sides expected to be challenging for promotion at this level and, despite only finishing fifth last season, conceded an average of just 18 points per game.
And the 17 wins picked up by ONs last term included a double over Oundle (35-7 and 16-10) as the Eagles embarked on their first season in Midlands One East.
So to start the new campaign with such an emphatic verdict should inspire confidence that Oundle can progress from the 13 wins, 13 losses and seventh-place finish in 2017-18.
Not that director of rugby Peter Croot is getting too carried away just yet.
“I wouldn’t read too much into that result,” he said. “ONs are rebuilding a bit at the moment and had quite a few young players in their side.
“Early season matches are also difficult to gauge at this level because it is very hard to get good pre-season friendlies.
“It was a great result for us but the question is now about building on that.”
So, having settled well in this company last year and had a flying start to this one, where do Oundle’s ambitions lie?
“To not finish in the bottom three!,” responds Croot.
“We’ll see how it goes but our purpose at the moment is to at least stay at this level.
“There are a lot of unknowns in this league with clubs who’ve come in like Towcestrians and West Bridgford – who we play this week.
“I think our result against ONs was perhaps indicative of a year’s experience at this level but also of a strong looking squad.
“We’ve recruited some good players like Chris Humphrey – who was Peterborough Lions captain last year –, Jim Foster, Sam Cowell, we’ve Joe Sagoe back from time in Australia...
“We’ve brought in half-a-dozen or so new players which helps our strength in depth.
“There are now serious discussions at selection – every place is discussed.
“We’ve got a pool of around 60 players in the top two sides and, although they are not always available, we’re trying to manage the squad, limit the injury list and manage the players to make sure availability is as good as possible.”
Oundle head to West Bridgford this weekend to take on a side who narrowly lost 37-32 against Kettering last Saturday.
The Blues face Leighton Buzzard who were beaten 38-15 by Wellingborough on the opening day.
Boro travel to Lutterworth for their action this weekend.

Action from Oundle's opening-day success over Old Northamptonians. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Action from Oundle's opening-day success over Old Northamptonians. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Action from Oundle's opening-day success over Old Northamptonians. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Action from Oundle's opening-day success over Old Northamptonians. Pictures by Alison Bagley