First team coach Stanley departs after tough season

Roger Stanley
Roger Stanley

Roger Stanley will look back on his time at Eastbourne Rugby Club with fondness, despite a tough final season.

Stanley will leave his role as first team coach after their friendly match this weekend but insists he enjoyed his time there regardless of results on the pitch.

“It’s obviously been a tough season for everyone. There’s only a certain number of things you can say to the lads when they get setback after setback.

“But I enjoyed the challenge and I will look back on my time at the club quite fondly.”

It’s no secret that Eastbourne have had a difficult season, finishing bottom of the London and South East Three without a single win to their name.

They finished their competitive league season at the weekend with a 20-10 defeat to Sheppey - one of their more marginal deficits this season.

“You can’t fault any of the guys. We’ve been immensely pleased with their efforts all season but it’s just been a case of the opposition being too strong.”

Looking back on his time at the club, Stanley said, “At first there was a real buzz as they started picking up wins, which they hadn’t been doing before.

“We started this season with optimism but we lost key players early on in the season and that affected us.

“I think the best indicator of how well we’ve done this season is to look at how much the players have improved, which is a lot. While it’s odd to think of a defeat as a highlight, the performances against Crowborough, Medway and Folkestone were really encouraging.

“I hope to use what I’ve learnt at the club to maybe help junior coaches or grass roots level, something with a little less commitment so I can enjoy my weekends again. The set-up at the club is great and they were very supportive throughout my time there.

“When we played Sheppey there were only five first team players in the side and the rest were second team.

“Rob Outen’s done very well with improving and developing the younger players and I’ve no doubt this will continue when we go down to Sussex One next season. Hopefully that will allow a few of the younger players to get introduced into a stronger and more stable side in the future.”