Patton predicts Blacks can bounce back from drop

Berwick RFC return to training for the new season
Berwick RFC return to training for the new season

Berwick Rugby Club’s head coach Lawrence Patton is stepping down after three years in charge of the first team.

The Blacks were relegated last weekend and next season will play in the RBS East League Division 2. But Patton, who is a former player, says that is not the reason he is leaving.

“Some people might think that,” he said, “but I made my decision in January and gave the club plenty of notice as to my intentions.

“Yes, it would have been nice to see the club stay up, but sadly, for a combination of reasons, things haven’t worked out for the team this season.

“I still think that with the core group of players they have they can make progress in the future and achieve some success, but to do that I think there needs to be a lot more togetherness within the squad.

“Only a few years ago Berwick were playing in Premier 2. They got there with a group of players who had grown up together, trained together and played for each other.

“That’s the ethos that the current squad needs to strive for. I understand they are not getting paid, so they are playing socially, but I have always believed that if you commit to something you give it your all, and that means training hard as well as playing hard.

“Some of the players are only training once a week, and that isn’t enough. Sometimes we have only had 10 or 12 lads at training on a Thursday and again that isn’t good enough.”

Patton, who first arrived at Berwick when the Scremerston side were playing in Premier 2, said that a year or so later there were occasions when they were only ‘two or three’ at training, and he found that unacceptable.

“I talked it over with my wife,” he said, “and when Jedforest came in for me it made the decision all the easier to go and play for them.”

But Patton, who had a year and a half away, always had Berwick in his heart, and living locally (near Lowick) and with two young boys interested in the game, he decided to return.

“I was offered the job of head coach and to be honest I have loved my time at the club but I think now is the time to move on. I am studying for my coaching badges and I am currently working towards Level 3.

“For the time I will still be around, and I will offer help and advice if it is needed.

“Berwick is a great little club,there are a lot of people who work away tirelessly behind the scenes, but the past few years haven’t been too kind to them on the pitch and I think now is the time to regroup and build for the future again.”