Sturdy brings stint at Whitchurch to an end

Scott Sturdy has ended his stint as Whitchurch head coach.

Sturdy brings stint at Whitchurch to an end
Sturdy brings stint at Whitchurch to an end

Sturdy is leaving Edgeley Road but will be back next term having accepted a similar coaching role at Midlands One West rivals Hereford.

The 32-year-old has enjoyed a successful six-year stay at Whitchurch, a spell that saw them win the Midlands Two West (North) title in 2017/18 with a perfect record of 22 wins from 22 games.

He also guided the side to the success in the North Midlands Plate competition and the final of the North Midlands Shield. And they were just two games from Twickenham when they were beaten in the Midlands final of the RFU Intermediate Cup.

But, having moved house from Nantwich to Ross-on-Wye in December, Sturdy has finally admitted defeat to the lengthy commute.

“It’s been a fantastic six years at the club and I have loved every minute of it,” he said. “I’d like to thank the committee, players, fellow coaches Noel Speed and Max Pridmore and physio Lucy Mitford for all their support.

“I am really sad to be leaving, I would have loved to have carried on but it was just unsustainable with all the travelling. I was spending at least 15 hours on the road each week getting to and from the club, and that’s before you start doing anything on the grass.

“With my job at the RFU, I have to attend a lot of meetings on Mondays and Wednesday evenings, so there was very little time left in the week.

“Nantwich to Whitchurch was just down the road, really. But from where I live now it’s a five-hour round trip.

“And when you do that two or three times a week, and with my work commitments as well, it takes its toll.”

After retiring from playing at the tender age of 18 after breaking his leg, Sturdy headed down the coaching route when he finished university.

He spent two years at Oswestry and two more with Droitwich before joining Whitchurch.

After seventh and sixth-placed finishes in his first two seasons, Whitchurch suffered relegation to Midlands Two West (North) the following season.

But they bounced back in stunning style with an unblemished record and have since built on that by finishing fourth last season, a position they have matched this year.

Sturdy, who holds a Masters Degree in sports coaching development, leaves safe in the knowledge that the club are in a far healthier place than when he took charge.

And while there has been plenty to celebrate on the pitch, it’s the development of the club’s own players that Sturdy takes most pride from.

“I took on coaching the colts after we were relegated because it was obvious we didn’t have enough strength in depth,” added Sturdy.

“Midlands One West level is where amateur rugby meets semi-professional. It’s a tough league.

“The club needed to develop more players to be able to compete. We did that and it’s great that we have shown some consistency over the last two seasons.

“We have used 38 or 39 players this season and all bar one of those are home grown. And 20-odd of the squad are under 23. The club is in a great place and I will be very keen to see what happens in the future.

“I feel I have left the club in a stronger position than it was in when I came in and the next step is to challenge for a play-off place or the title.

“We have brought through some really good young players and, if they continue to develop, then there is no reason why this club can’t establish itself at level five.”

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