Old guard trusted to save Wycombe from the drop

Digi Akinwale

Digi Akinwale

First published in Local Sport by

HIGH Wycombe RFC have conscripted their own Dad’s army to fight the good fight after being backed up against a wall in South West 1 East.

A host of players just this side of 40 – plus one or two who are the other side of it – have put their boots on again to help the club in its hour of need.

Director of rugby George Dorling, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Saturday, is one of the old guard.

He said: “I’d play every game if I could, but I’m finding it hard now.

“So we’re marking certain games and hopefully we’re all going to be ok for those fixtures.

“We’ve got to box clever and come out for certain games.”

Forty-something Alistair Foyle and Mark Sturgeon have also ridden to the rescue after desperate phone calls from the club, alongside the likes of Pete Dorling, Steve Philpot, Gavin Bunker, Richard Blunden, Dan Sumnal and Digi Akinwale.

Dorling said: “They weren’t sure they wanted to play if they couldn’t train, but if they can’t make training it doesn’t matter.

“We’ve got to bring them back for certain games and the rest of the players have accepted that.

“It’s a fight, we’ve got to go back to what we know and who we know.”

The seasoned warriors bring with them a wealth of experience and that counted for a lot in Wycombe’s 14-13 win over Witney on January 5.

Many of the veterans sat out last Saturday’s hiding to nothing at Bracknell – which Wycombe lost 87-0 – but they’re expected to be back for the trip to Cheltenham on Saturday.

It’s one of the games earmarked by the squad as a must-win, alongside the home games with Bletchley and Marlow and the trip to bottom club Swanage & Wareham.

Dorling said: “You can forget Bracknell. The mindset was just to get that game out of the way and hopefully we won’t have to play them again.

“But for the rest of the fixtures we’re quite confident, if we can play clever and play to our strengths.

“We want to stay in this league for as long as we can and there is good character at the club, there always has been.

“It’s a New Year, it feels like a new season. We’ve got a mountain to climb, but hopefully we’ve had a poor first half of the season and now we’re going to step up.”

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