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National Clubs Association Cup: Bishop's Stortford drawn with Cambridge, Old Albanian, Bury St Edmunds and Westcliff




Marcus Cattell and Tom Coleman are hoping to take charge of their long-awaited first Bishop's Stortford match next month after arranging a couple of friendlies.

The joint head coaches, who took over the reins from director of rugby Andy Long in the spring, are yet to oversee a match due to the pandemic, with the first team's last outing being a National League 1 victory over Rotherham on March 7.

But they are hoping to bring the wait to an end with friendlies against Hertford and Westcliff on January 23 and 30 respectively. The venue for the Hertford game is to be confirmed but the Westcliff match will be away.

And those games should be warm-ups for the upcoming National Clubs Association Cup, which is due to start in February.

Stortford have been drawn in Group 6 alongside Cambridge, Old Albanian, Bury St Edmunds and Westcliff. Teams will play each other home and away before separating into a knockout competition with clubs from other regional groups.

The initial pools have been allocated based on geographical regions to reduce travel times.

Action from Stortford's trip to Cambridge last December. The derby rivals are scheduled to lock horns in the upcoming NCA Cup. Picture: Vikki Lince
Action from Stortford's trip to Cambridge last December. The derby rivals are scheduled to lock horns in the upcoming NCA Cup. Picture: Vikki Lince

Stortford have been able to resume some contact training ahead of the return to an adapted version of the 15-a-side game which will see no scrums or mauls.

"It's nice to have something to work towards now and there's a bit more purpose to training," said Cattell. "It's been very weird, but the boys have been fantastic and their attitude has been excellent.

"We've had a week of training. We're doing a bit of contact work, basic tackling technique and rucking exercises to condition them for the contact element of the game.

"It was a case of playing with adapted rules or not playing at all. We'd like the normal rules, of course, but we can adapt. It will take a bit of getting used to, but every sport is about adapting to what's in front of you, whether it's the weather, the referee or the opposition.

"We're just ready to get going now and hopefully January will see some rugby back at Silver Leys."



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