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Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club head coach Jacob Ford looks forward to ‘an exciting year’ ahead of National League Two East campaign

Jacob Ford, Bury St Edmunds head coach, believes that his side will have another ‘exciting year’ after back-to-back record finishes for the Suffolk outfit.

After equalling their highest ever finish in Ford’s first season as head coach - in 2021/22 - the club went on to do one better last year, finishing fifth in the National League 2 East table.

The start of a new season brings a clean state for coaches and players, but Ford will want his side to carry over the momentum they built last campaign.

Jacob Ford is ready to lead Bury St Edmunds into the 2023/24 season
Jacob Ford is ready to lead Bury St Edmunds into the 2023/24 season

“I think it’s going to be an exciting year for us as we have a lot of potential in this group and it’s the start of another long season where we can get better each week,” said Ford.

“The thing I’ve been most proud of over the last three years has been how we’ve gone about playing the game by winning in the right manner.

“I’m looking forward to putting on a show again for the people who support us and are invested in the club.”

The squad has seen a shakeup of personnel as six players left in the summer, some that were hard for the fans to say goodbye to.

Yasin Browne and Toby Hill both played more than 100 times for the club and Ford admitted they ‘couldn’t replace’ the wealth of experience they brought to the side.

“All six players we lost at the end of last season were great players for us. They moved on for different reasons, they all did fantastically well for the club and we wish them the best in their new environments.”

Replacing the old guard are 16 new players who have gelled in well with the squad over pre-season, and are hungry to get started.

“The young lads we’ve brought in are energetic and have given us a real buzz, so I’ve got full faith that they can make up for that loss of experience,” said Ford.

“We wanted to add depth in certain positions, make training competitive and bring some young lads in who are keen to get better, as well as replacing the lads we lost.

“They’ve all fitted in really well which has given us as coaches a bit of a headache, but that’s what we want. We’ve seen a massive step up in training this year, the lads are getting better so we’re feeling positive.”

Bury secured their fifth placed finish on the final day of last season thanks to a 41-32 home victory over Henley Hawks, but will they break more records this time around and find themselves challenging for a place in the National League 1?

When asked if promotion is the target this season, Ford said: “I don’t want to speak about anything like that, we’re just focused on getting it right tomorrow and we’ll go from there.

“The challenge for us has always been to be a better version of ourselves from the day before and a better team than the week before. We’ve continued to do that over the past few seasons and we’ll continue to do that this year.”

Bury St Edmunds get their campaign under way tomorrow (3pm) with a home encounter against an Old Albanians side who finished in seventh place last season.