Essex League Division One B: Mark Collins taking nothing for granted despite Dagenham’s solid pre-season campaign
PUBLISHED: 16:00 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 21:04 31 August 2017
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Experienced coach offers opinion on changes to London Three Leagues and reveals why he is preparing a squad able to travel anyway
Mark Collins has been happy with Dagenham’s pre-season so far, but knows it doesn’t guarantee a good campaign, writes George Sessions.
The D’s director of rugby has been happy with what he has seen from his squad over the last couple of months.
But the former Romford & Gidea Park head coach knows everything could change when the Essex League Division One B campaign starts on September 9.
“Last summer we had a great pre-season and the four games we played went brilliantly and then everyone went missing,” said Collins.
“People were unavailable or injured so all the good work we did in July and August counted for little.
“That is why you can’t predict things and I would never turn around and say we can win the league because you just don’t know.
“All I want to see from us is a little bit of progress and that way I know we are moving forward as a club.”
Dagenham stabilised last season after a difficult 2015/16 campaign and Collins is now looking to the future.
The D’s long-term aim is to get back into the London leagues and with that in mind, their director of rugby is trying to build a spirit at Central Park which is able to push the team forward.
“If you are an ambitious club and want to reach the London Two North East for example then you need to put a squad together which is happy to travel,” said Collins.
“I would like to think we are one of those clubs striving for that, so it is all about building that team spirit where you can potentially go through the leagues if you have enough quality as well.
“Another thing which may help is the London Three Leagues has been split into two parts now, so you have an Eastern Countries division and an Essex One.
“I think that is a good thing because players don’t get days off at the weekend anymore and it makes availability difficult, so it has an impact on a sport like rugby.
“People don’t want to travel a long way on a Saturday, so splitting it is a good thing, but I want to put together a squad which is happy to travel.”
Dagenham are set for more friendly action this weekend when they take on a side from Romford & Gidea Park.