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Dan Powell on the motivation for his move from Plymouth Albion to National League 1 rivals Bishop's Stortford




For many people, heading down to the South West to enjoy the beaches, sunny weather and cream teas is an ideal getaway.

But Dan Powell has made the journey in the opposite direction as he looks to sample the rugby fare he witnessed in Bishop's Stortford two-and-a-half years ago.

The 24-year-old is looking forward to his first season at Silver Leys after moving from the seaside town of Sidmouth in Devon, having been playing in National League 1 for Plymouth Albion for the last five years.

He can vividly remember being part of the away squad that was on the wrong end of a 57-24 thumping in Hertfordshire in February 2019 – and now he wants to help his new team rack up some more impressive wins.

"I've been playing at Plymouth for the last five years and living in Sidmouth, which is near Exeter. For the last two or three years now I've been wanting to do something a bit different," said Powell, who played in Stortford's 32-19 win over his old side last Saturday (Sept 11).

"When I was thinking about making the move this way, Bishop's Stortford sprang to mind because I've played against them a few times and been on the receiving end of quite a few tricky days.

Dan Powell has moved to Bishop's Stortford from Plymouth Albion. Pic: Vikki Lince (50656250)
Dan Powell has moved to Bishop's Stortford from Plymouth Albion. Pic: Vikki Lince (50656250)

"They play a really exciting brand of rugby which suits my game. I like to chuck the ball around and play off the cuff and that's exactly what Stortford pride themselves on.

"I remember playing here two or three years ago and Stortford put 40 or 50 points on us, chucking it from edge to edge. I thought 'yeah, I want a bit of that' and, finally, here I am, so hopefully I can now contribute to it."

Having been considering making a move away from the South for a few years, the switch, when it happened, came about quite quickly.

His friend Nick Mansfield initiated it after getting a job as a history teacher at Felsted School. The pals are living together in Saffron Walden, with Powell getting a recruitment-based job at Fenix International that will fit in nicely around his playing commitments.

"[Nick] told me he was coming up here and that put the accelerator on a little bit," said Powell.

"We sorted a flat out in Saffron Walden and within four or five weeks I was up here. It was pretty spontaneous, although I'd had it sort of planned for a while.

"I spoke to Marcus [Cattell, joint head coach] and the club have been really helpful sorting a job and everything else.

Action from Stortford's home game against Plymouth in February 2019 which Dan Powell remembers well. Pic: Vikki Lince. (50832234)
Action from Stortford's home game against Plymouth in February 2019 which Dan Powell remembers well. Pic: Vikki Lince. (50832234)

"I'm in a recruitment-based role. Previously I was doing sales and working weekends as well, which got in the way of rugby quite a lot.

"I'm quite happy to be working Monday to Friday now to allow more time at the weekends for rugby."

Powell is settling in nicely to his new surroundings and is excited by the prospect of working hard to land a regular spot in the first team.

But what position can Stortford supporters expect to see him in?

"That's a question I can never answer, to be fair," said Powell, who is sponsored by R C Boreman. "I'm preferably a full-back but I've found myself playing across the whole back line.

"For Plymouth I played quite a lot of games in the centres. Luckily I can play a few different positions although that often finds me on the bench, so hopefully I can cement a first XV shirt.

"I'm 24 so I like to think I've got quite a few years left but also bring some experience as well. I've played National League 1 rugby for the last five years now so hopefully I can add something both on and off the field."



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