A growing sense of excitement is building at Linchfield Road where Deepings are plotting a serious assault on promotion from Midlands Four East (South).
In contrast to last season, when a strong start of five wins in their first eight league games faded away after just one win in their last seven, the Green Machine are hopeful that a mixture of eye-catching additions and young promise could propel them to a higher level for next season.
New 1st XV coach Nic ‘Nobby’ Coupland and skipper Lance Charity have injected a new ambition into the squad, partly due to the fact that they travel to Sileby Town on Saturday without any high-profile departures from the club.
Charity said: “Last season, we had a lot of injuries which made team selection a bit diificult.
“But the core of the team was there, and still is, but we’ve managed to get a few more people in to pick the buzz up.
“It’s not really changed except for us having more players who want success.
“Last season we finished mid-table and we’re looking at better things this time.”
Deepings have put a red circle around their first home game of the season against Stamford College Old Boys on September 17.
The fact that it’s a South Kesteven derby has been added to by the Old Boys’ status as reigning NLD (Notts, Lincs and Derbys) Intermediate Cup holders and the Green Machine’s prize capture of cup-winning full-back Aram Jones from their Stamford rivals.
Jones said: “I just wanted a bit of a change and when Lance invited me to come down and train with Deepings, I thought they were a really good bunch of lads.
We’re striving for promotion and a good cup run as well, so we wanted Aram Jones to be a part of itDeepings 1st XV captain Lance Charity
“Deepings have got more about them because Lance has recruited more players and so people have to fight for their position.
“Lance has told me that I’ll be used more to my ability here as a full back.
“The cup win was good with Stamford College Old Boys, but I felt that I couldn’t progress there any more.
“But here at Deepings, it suits my skill level more and if I can help the team progress by shooting down the lines in my natural position at 15, then that’s what I want.
“I’ve just got to perform and, for me, I can do that at Deepings because I get on well with the team.”
Charity said: “It was a just simple case of telling Aram that he was a good player and that I wanted him to be part of this team.
“We’re striving for promotion and we want a good cup run, so we wanted Aram to be part of it.
“He came down for pre-season training and enjoyed it, with 25 to 30 players training which is something we haven’t had for a long time.
“Everyone’s fighting for it and what’s really spurred this team on is competition for places.
“Aram is definitely a player who can go further, but he’s a social lad as well, a local boy and he’s come here wanting more.”
At the other end of the spectrum is hooker Fraser Leiper (17) who was part of the Spalding under-17 side that disappointed in last season’s Lincolnshire RFU Under-17 Cup final, losing 12-0 to Lincoln.
Leiper said: “My dad Andy played for Deepings so it’s like a legacy in that I’m keeping the name at the club.
“Dad took my down to a training session one day and I kept coming back.
“In Year 7, I moved to Spalding because I wanted to have a better career in rugby and, from then on, I got into the county side twice, then Leicester Tigers’ Developing Player Programme for two years and through to the Scottish Exiles.
“Then I came back here after going through college for a year where I played quite high impact rugby.
“I enjoyed the physicality of it a lot and now I went to get fitter, stronger and make myself a better player at Deepings where I can play against older players who have a more physical style of game.
“But as a team, we’ve got to keep the work effort up and make sure that what we do in training is taken into the games.
“With the exciting players we’ve got now, promotion is possible.”
Sat 10: Sileby Town (A)
Sat 17: Stamford College OBs (H)
Sat 24: Skegness - cup (A)
Sat 1: Thorney (A)
Sat 8: Bedford Swifts (H)
Sat 22: Bourne (A)
Sat 5: Brackley (H)
Sat 19: Wellingborough OGs (A)
Sat 26: Old Newtonians (A)
Sat 10: Queens (H)
Sat 17: Stamford College OBs (A)
Sat 7: Thorney (H)
Sat 21: Bedford Swifts (A)
Sat 28: Bourne (H)
Sat 18: Brackley (A)
Sat 4: Wellingborough OGs (H)
Sat 25: Old Newtonians (H)
Sat 8: Queens (A)
Sat 22: Sileby Town (H)