Newmarket head coach to step down at end of season

BY their own admission, senior rugby at Newmarket was on the brink.

The first XV had been relegated, the club were unable to field a regular second team and there was serious danger that they would have to resign from the Eastern Counties.

But today, they proudly sit fourth in London 3 North East, having flirted with promotion. They boast two additional senior men’s teams, a burgeoning youth section and, for the first time, a girls side.

Such a “renaissance” cannot be down to just one man. But after announcing his decision to step down as club coach, officials at Newmarket have no doubt the significance played by Dave Sayer.

In his four years at Newmarket, Sayer has been instrumental in turning around the club’s fortunes.

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That is certainly the opinion of chairman Neil Richardson who paid a glowing tribute to the soon-to-be-departed coach.

Richardson, who is also director of rugby at Newmarket, said: “Although many people within the club have played their part in this revival, without doubt the key element in this renaissance has been Dave Sayer.

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“He has provided the organisation, commitment and values in selection that have been the foundations for this success. He has by some distance been the most successful coach the club has ever had.

“I would like to thank him on behalf of all at Newmarket Rugby Club for the hard work that he has put in over the many seasons he has been involved.”

During his time at Newmarket, Sayer led Newmarket’s first team to two promotions and the divisional final of the National Vase. The club’s development team also reached the Greene King Cup Final while the coaching structure of junior rugby has also been significantly overhauled.

In a statement on the club’s website, Sayer said: “It has been an honour to have coached the club over the past few years and I am pleased to have played a part in a very successful period in the history of Newmarket.

“In particular, it has given me great pleasure to see the young guys coming through from the junior teams. But now I think that after four years, the players need to hear a different voice.

“Although I have received other offers from local clubs, I fully intend to remain at Newmarket and if I can be of help to the club as a volunteer in a less time-consuming role, I will be pleased to do so.”

Looking to the future, Richardson added: “The search for a new club coach has begun. However, it is important that we find the right person who can build on our recent success to develop rugby at Newmarket still further.”

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