Experienced Cook leads the way as S&L target promotion

Stewarts & Lloyds hope to have a promotion to celebrate this season
Stewarts & Lloyds hope to have a promotion to celebrate this season

Stewarts & Lloyds have a new name but certainly not a new face leading the way this year.

They opened their account for the season with a very impressive 48-0 win over Aylestone St James in Midlands Three East (South).

And it came in the first match in which long-serving Greig Cook was officially captaining the side.

“I think I should retire now and leave with a 100 per cent record,” the Occupation Road stalwart laughed.

“I did it as a fill-in a bit last year when Gareth (Lewis) got a bad knee injury but they asked me to do it full-time this season.

“Someone told me that I made my first-team debut in 1999 so it’s about 17 years I’ve been playing – and they’ve finally let me be captain!”

The aim under Cook is a clear one – promotion.

Following the excellent 2013-14 season when they won promotion and also took the Midlands Senior Vase prize, things have slipped away a little.

Now S&L feel everything is in place to make it another year to remember.

“The problems we had when we went up was there was a bit of turnaround in the squad and a lot of young guys came in.

“They found life harder at that level above. But now they are a few years older, they’re stronger and they have a bit more experience.

“The 18-19 year olds from that season are now that bit better prepared.

“We’ve got a good core of players in the squad.

“The average age is about 22 or 23 but with a few older heads left to steer the ship.

“We had about seven missing last weekend and still put in a performance like that which is really encouraging.

“There might be a few selection headaches for the coaches because even the players on the bench last week are more than capable of playing in the first team. We’re not just filling gaps any more.

“We’re definitely aiming for promotion.

“We had a blip at the start of last season but then did much better as we went along.

“This year we’re looking to involve our backline much more.

“We’ll have a very strong pack – that will remain the same – but our backline looks more potent with more pace and power.

“Last year the forwards dominated the scoring count but I think the backs will get a lot more this time.

“We’ve also got a new fitness set up. “We’ve brought in someone who does strength and conditioning in the RAF and we’re looking pretty fit.”

S&L take on BBOBs in a county derby this weekend.