Popular kicker Charlie Reed leaves Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club as former Northampton Saints Under-18s talents Ollie Saddleton and Harry Simpson arrive
Bury St Edmunds chief Jacob Ford admits kicker Charlie Reed’s surprise departure is a ‘massive loss’ but having just welcomed two talented 18-year-olds he is confident he is not short of viable options to begin filling the full-back or fly-half’s big boots.
Reed, who joined from RFU Championship outfit Bedford Blues ahead of the Covid-19 return of rugby in the 2021/22 campaign, previously played for Ford at Loughborough Students and was also working in his full-time job alongside him in his Ipswich School rugby department.
But a new ‘exciting coaching opportunity’ at a yet-to-be-announced professional club has presented itself, meaning Reed played in his last game in their green and gold colours before being given a send off following Saturday’s opening pre-season friendly win over higher-league Blackheath.
Ford said of the player who passed the 50-cap mark for The Wolfpack: “We’ve had a bit of a setback with losing Charlie Reed but we’ve got plenty of exciting young lads coming in in that position so we’re a little bit fortunate.
“Obviously Charlie is a massive loss for the club but there’s other lads ready to fight for that position and step up.”
He added: “Charlie has got a fantastic job now and we’re really happy for him.
“He can’t commit to us anymore but he is still going to be around watching and supporting the team when and where he is able to.”
It comes as two of Ford’s successful Ipswich School side – who won the Under-18 National Rugby Festival at Merchiston Castle in Scotland as well as The President’s Cup last season – have become Bury’s 15th and 16th new additions of the close season.
Ollie Saddleton and Harry Simpson were his centres pairing and were also both playing for Northampton Saints Under-18s.
“They are both fresh out of playing academy rugby with Saints 18s last year,” said Ford. “They are both centres but can play all across the back line. Ollie actually played the last three games for us of last season and he’s now decided to come with us for this year.
“They are both excellent players who have played for me at the school, so we know each other pretty well and they’ll fit into the team pretty well as well. We are looking forward to seeing them run out for Bury.”
Saddleton and Simpson were not part of last Saturday’s squad but will get game-time this weekend when Ford takes the squad for a bonding trip to The Netherlands to take on RC Eemland-Amersfoort.
“It’s a friend of mine who is a big influence at the club,” explained Ford of their trip to around 45 minutes from the capital Amsterdam.
“We have a good relationship with the club and him and some young Dutch lads as well, so that’s how it came about.”
A week today (August 25) sees The Wolfpack host Ulster Academy (3.30pm) in a final pre-season friendly ahead of their National League 2 East opener at home to Old Albanians on September 2 (3pm).