Bury St Edmunds sign 21 new players ahead of National 2 debut

dave micklethwaite

dave micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

They may have signed 21 new players, but Bury St Edmunds director of rugby Gavin Hogg thinks the Wolfpack have got the right blend as they approach their first-ever campaign at National 2 level.

They may have signed 21 new players, but Bury St Edmunds director of rugby Gavin Hogg thinks the Wolfpack have got the right blend as they approach their first-ever campaign at National 2 level.

Among the new faces are former Sale Sharks back-row Ben Davey, ex-Bury youth player Josh Walker and Norwich duo Dave Micklethwaite and Matt Selby.

However, the club were committed to keeping as many of the personnel that have gone up the leagues with them as possible, including club captain Chris Snelling, the long-serving Matt Edison and former St Joseph’s College pupil Shaq Meyers.

Bury kick-off their pre-season fixtures with an away game at Sutton Coldfield on August 15, before their National 2 curtain-raiser at home to Bishop’s Stortford on September 5, and Hogg is happy with the squad assembled at the Haberden so far.


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“Our priority was to retain as many of the guys from last season as possible and a realistic target was around 90%,” said Hogg.

“The next job was to try and fill holes where we thought there was going to be potential areas of high attrition, particularly in the second row and back row and I think we have added strength there.

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“We also identified guys who are comfortable with the way we play the game, we want athletes who take on board everything we want to do.”

As well as identifying solid local and national talent, the club have also branched out again and brought in the likes of Zane Butler and Matt Hema from New Zealand, Ireland under-19 player Cronan Gleeson and Stade Montois man Clement Le Roy.

The recruitment drive has taken time and Hogg admitted that certain clubs in the league would have had a little more flexibility in terms of what they can offer financially.

“One thing we have noticed at this level is that there are a lot of players out there, but a lot of players have unrealistic expectations in terms of our budget and wages,” added Hogg.

“This is our first year at pro-am status and we want to do things right.

“We want to get players in for the right reasons and join the journey taking us forward.”

He added: “We also want to reward the guys that have been with the club three or four seasons and have had fantastic success, winning two promotions in the last three seasons.”

Bury took two seasons to win promotion to National 2 having been elevated from London 1 to National 3 in 2013.

The club has ambitions to make further strides forwards but Hogg was realistic as he outlined the west Suffolk side’s aims.

“We have got a very tough start at home to Bishop’s Stortford and that will probably give us a marker as to where we are at,” explained Hogg.

“I look through some of the teams and I think there is going to be three divisions within the league.

“There will be four or five teams, such as Chinnor, Bishop’s Stortford, Worthing and Cambridge that will have ambitions to go on and play at the next level.

“We will probably be in the middle group of teams who operate on similar budgets to ourselves.

“Then there will be a few teams trying to avoid relegation. Our target is to be in the middle pack.”

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