Cheltenham Saracens are no longer the new kids on the block.
For many years one of the lower ranked teams in the town, they have now established themselves in the top three behind Old Patesians and Cheltenham, with many of their supporters believing they have power to add.
Double success in the end-of-season Cheltenham Combination cup finals only added to the optimism that is currently pervading King George V as they prepare for their fourth season in the rarified heights of Gloucester Premier.
But amid all the hope and expectation, chairman Jimmy O’Shea has warned that they have a tough season ahead.
“I think this will be our hardest season since we got into Gloucester Premier,” said O’Shea. “Look at the teams who have come up – Spartans and Gloucester Old Boys – it’s going to be very competitive.
“And then there’s the two clubs who have come down – Whitehall and Cirencester – they’ll both be strong as well.
“We’d love to go for promotion this season but you have to realise that a lot of teams can go up very quickly and then come down very quickly. We don’t want that happening to us.”
Not that O’Shea is expecting the club to struggle this season. He is delighted that Gloucester duo Billy Burns and Jacob Rowan will continue to coach at the club and is pleased to report that nearly all of the players who made last season such a success are still with the club.
O’Shea himself is a Saracen through and through after joining the club way back in 1982.
A back row forward who captained both the 1st and 2nd XVs, he is about to embark on his fifth season as chairman of the go-ahead club.
“We’ve got a good committee and everyone is on an even keel. We don’t pay players but they’re all happy here and we work hard to make sure that continues to be the case,” he said.
O’Shea may be urging caution but there’s a feelgood factor that could take Saracens a long way this season.
Original post int The Local Answer can be found here.