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Mike Ayrton, James Ayrton, JP Nel and Brad Burr sign for Bishop's Stortford Rugby Club


By Michael Vaughton


An awesome foursome have been unveiled as Bishop's Stortford's first summer signings ahead of their third National League 1 campaign.

Winger Mike Ayrton and his younger brother James, a centre, have made the switch from near-neighbours Cambridge.

South African prop JP Nel arrives at Silver Leys having featured for National League 2S side Birmingham & Solihull Bees in the latter half of last term.

And fly-half Brad Burr, who crossed Stortford's path during his time with Southend, has been recruited from Brentwood.

The Ayrtons played almost 400 games between them for Cambridge, and Stortford director of rugby Andy Long is delighted to have acquired their services.

Andy Long. Picture: Vikki Lince (12345145)
Andy Long. Picture: Vikki Lince (12345145)

"You've got to have a massive amount of respect for their loyalty to the club," said Long. "They wanted a change of scene and it's great to bring two high-quality backs into the group.

"James will help us open up the pitch well and get our backs into the game as well as having some good close-contact skills.

"Mike is fast, with great feet, and has always been difficult for us to play against. I've got a huge amount of admiration for him.

"The two of them should suit us in terms of their characters as well as suiting our style of play."

Long is pleased to have signed Burr - a player he has known about for some time - with Tom Coleman having retired and George Cullen only pencilled in for a possible return around Christmas time following his epic 6,000-mile Hairy Handlebars cycling challenge.

And the coach believes Nel will also be a very valuable addition to the squad having also been impressed with his desire to sign.

"Brad has always been on our radar as a fly-half, but he can also play at 12 and 15," said Long. "We've always admired him and he wants to challenge himself in National League 1, which is great.

"JP's a prop, which is an area we needed to strengthen in. You get a lot of CVs dropping on your desk, but fundamentally you want people that want to play for the club.

"He was very keen to join Bishop's Stortford and the area really suits him and his wife Natasha. We're excited to have him on board."



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