Athletic raring to go for start of the season

Brighton hosted the Rugby World Cup at the weekend
Brighton hosted the Rugby World Cup at the weekend

The 2015-16 rugby union season is nearly here and Bedford Athletic are all set for their second successive campaign in Midlands One East.

Having finished third last time around, the side – led by captain Rob Watkins – have announced several additions to last year’s squad.

Strengthening the back division is centre Steven Smith who joins from Shelford. He made 84 appearances over the last four seasons in National Two, scoring 23 tries and 377 points.

Smith came through the junior ranks in Bedford rugby and made one appearance for the Bedford Blues against Swansea in the British and Irish Cup in February 2011.

Also joining Smith in the back line is scrum-half Nick Boyer who has arrived from the USA. A member of the California Bald Eagles club, Boyer was in the USA U20 side that won the Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2012.

In the forwards, second row Tom Albone returns to the club having spent two seasons with Luton RFC. Albone was also a member of the Bedford Athletic Colts team that won the East Midlands league title in 2010.

He will be joined in the forward pack by another back row player, Will Skingsley. Following in the footsteps of his father Ian, Skingsley returns following three years at Exeter University and also has a couple of East Midlands U20 appearances to his name.

Brothers Josh and Theo Cassell will also be in the Athletic line up this season. Winger Josh previously played for the club in the 2013-14 season and returns from university in Leeds where he scored for West Leeds in the 2015 Senior Vase final at Twickenham.

Younger brother and back rower Theo recently graduated from Bedford Modern School and last season captained the England Independent Schools side.

Athletic’s first league game is at home to Wellingborough on Saturday.

Kick-off is 3pm at Putnoe Woods.