Rugby: Old Cooperians reveal return of Ratford

Old Cooperians RFC play home matches at the Coopers Company & Coborn School in Upminster

Old Cooperians RFC play home matches at the Coopers Company & Coborn School in Upminster - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Old Cooperians have begun their preparations for the 2020-21 London Three campaign with a key signing.

Craig Ratford will return to the Upminster club in a player-coach role, focusing on attack.

And director of rugby Andy Yarrow was delighted to welcome the experienced Ratford back to St Mary’s Lane.

He said: “Ratty is a high calibre of player and shares my philosophy and vision for how we want to play the game.

“He returns to the club after spending last season starting as fly-half for London One side Eton Manor and I wish them all the best for the upcoming season.

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“The signing of a player of Craig’s pedigree outlines the club’s ambitions and intentions for the upcoming season.

“We’ve been in discussion with a number of other players that also share this ambition, drive and dedication required to success at this level. I look forward to welcoming some of these players to pre-season.”

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Ratford admitted he had enjoyed his time with Manor and admitted it was tough to leave the New Wilderness outfit, but is relishing his next challenge.

He added: “Leaving Eton Manor to come back to Coops was a tough decision. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time there and it’s definitely a special club.

“But after speaking with Yarrow and some of the boys, I’m really excited to be back in the mix at Coops and I can’t wait to bring some new ideas and a new style of playing to the club.

“Coops is a great place to play rugby and the boys are top notch. I’m definitely looking forward to some post-match shandys throughout the season!”

Daryl Ox will also hold a player-coach role, focusing on set-piece, with Ian Roper as skills coach and Hayley West as strength & conditioning coach/sports therapist.

The club hope to hold a team meeting on June 22 to review last season, discuss their vision for the new term, as well as aims for the team and each player.

Yarrow added: “We look forward to seeing everyone as soon as possible but for now please stay safe.”

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