21st Jan, 2020

Rugby in good shape ahead of season opener

Ben Tyler 1st Aug, 2019

RUGBY Town signed off their pre-season preparations with a 2-1 victory over Bedworth United, ahead of Saturday’s United Counties League Premier Division opener against Cogenhoe United (3pm).

Goals from defenders Liam Francis and Lee Thomas either side of the break handed Rugby a victory against the Southern League Division One side, providing Carl Adams with a good measure for where his side are at present.

It was Francis who rose highest to power home a header from Kieran Fitzgerald’s corner on 21 minutes, before the visitors levelled the scores five minutes later through Alex Troke’s volley into the net past under-23 goalkeeper Tom Billson.

A poor clearance ten minutes after the restart from the Bedworth goalkeeper fell to Justin Marsden, who played the ball through to Lee Thomas to swing a cross-cum-shot into the net.

The win followed a 4-0 thrashing of another step four side in hosts Evesham United on Thursday, with Jazz Luckie, Lewis Padmore, Charlie Evans and Fitzgerald all on the scoresheet.

Town will be looking to build on a third-place finish in the UCL Premier Division and, after bringing in seven new signings, have made clear their intentions of returning to step four at the third time of asking.

Omar Recci became the latest name to arrive through the door at Butlin Road, the younger brother of captain Loyiso, and reels off the likes of Hednesford Town, Nuneaton Town and Redditch United amongst his former clubs.

Only one new arrival, Ryan Seal, did not feature during Valley’s pre-season schedule, and will also miss out on the first competitive game of the season on Saturday due to not being back from a trip to America.

Otherwise, Valley host Cogenhoe at Butlin Road with a full-strength side to choose from apart from injury doubt Luckie – who is recovering from a hamstring strain.

This weekend’s visitors Cogenhoe finished seventh in the table last season, and won 1-0 on their last trip to Rugby thanks to an Alex Lowery strike back in April.

Much has changed since then for United, with the majority of last season’s squad joining former manager Jake Stone in making the move to Wellingborough Town.

Unlike Rugby, Cogenhoe have already started their league campaign, winning 1-0 at home against Loughborough University as part of the annual groundhopping initiative.

Valley follow up the weekend’s encounter with a trip to Leicestershire to face Anstey Nomads on Tuesday night (7.45pm), before starting their participation in this year’s FA Cup away to Sporting Khalsa in the extra preliminary round the following Saturday (August 10).

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