After leading his side to a 32-11 win against 3rd placed Sedgley Park we sat down with Caldy Captain and No 8 JJ Dickinson to talk about all things Caldy from the players perspective
The Team is obviously on a great run at the moment. What has been the highlight so far for you personally this season?
“To be honest there is no single match or incident that I could pick out. As captain I may have perhaps a slightly different perspective than other players. I am pleased by our progress this season but possibly the most encouraging thing is that there is a lot more to come. The whole 40+ players in the senior squad are tight together and there is a real hunger and desire to get better.
“As a group we are very close, and I am not just talking in rugby terms. We get on terrifically well together off the pitch, sometimes better than we do on the pitch! I am excited by what we can all achieve together.”
“With 21 wins from 21 games are the players feeling the burden of expectation?”
“It would be disingenuous for me to say we don’t feel the pressure to keep the run going, but it doesn’t burden us. There are pressures but they are entirely different to the pressure we felt last season trying to scrap our way out of trouble at the wrong end of the National 1 table.”
“There is the excitement and energy that comes from being unbeaten and leading the table but everyone buys into that. Every game is a new challenge. At this level there is no opportunity to coast and we all appreciate that nothing less than full commitment is required during the week and at game time.”
“There is huge trust amongst everyone in the squad. Win or lose we are all in it together. We share the load across the whole of the squad, the coaching team and the support staff. It makes it all so much easier to carry”
National League rugby is a tough business, with 30 games a season against very good teams. What motivates you as players to commit to what is often a punishing and gruelling regime?
“Different players will have different motivations I am sure, but for me it is about the challenge and the community. Training hard in often wet and miserable conditions on a Tuesday and Thursday is maybe not for everyone but the quality of the sessions and the meticulous preparation the coaches put in before hand makes everybody understand they are part of a bigger team.
“It starts on a Sunday when the coaches analyse and pick apart the video of Saturday’s game and plan out the week’s training sessions. They always arrive on a Tuesday night with a video analysis of our performance and our next opponent’s previous performances.”
“I enjoy the tactical side of the game almost as much as the physical side and the analysis by the coaching group has been pretty much spot on this season”
“The players all respect the commitment and effort the coaches invest into us and their professionalism. They are the hardest working coaching group I have ever been involved with. As a player and the captain I want to live up to that standard. We all just want to be the best we can be and in a team sport everyone has to buy in or it doesn’t work. But having said all of that we wouldn’t put the effort in if we didn’t enjoy it.”
Which teams have been your toughest opponents so far this season?
“Wharfedale away was a real dog fight which we eventually won in the end, but I have to say the games against Hull away and at home were as hard as it gets. Hull were massively physical, and it is pretty astounding that they are only now pulling away from the relegation area.”
Next up it is 2nd placed Fylde away at their Woodlands ground. After last week’s tough encounter with 3rd placed Sedgley how do you view this next big game?
“For everyone at Caldy it has been our biggest game of the season since we first got to this level some 12 or so years ago. League position is unimportant when it comes to games against Fylde. They are huge games. Everyone is excited at Caldy. Fylde are a great side and they play a terrific brand of rugby. It is going to be an exciting contest for sure.
Could you share with us something about the Caldy squad that isn’t generally known?
“I am not going to let you know our line out codes or why Harrison Crowe shaved off his beard, but I can tell you about a fun thing we sometimes do.”
“I often challenge individuals to do something impressive. I give them time to prepare and come up with something at training, during a game or perhaps on the coach coming back from an away match.”
“We have had some impressive singing and rapping on coach trips and some great skills at training and in games but when I challenged scrum half Cam Davies to do something impressive, we were all a bit stunned”
“A series of flic flacs and tumbles was not what we expected…………it was a bit more than just impressive!”