WHITCHURCH Rugby Club have a new man in charge, following the departure of former head coach Scott Sturdy.

Sturdy had been in charge of the Edgeley Road side for five years, but his successes had not gone unnoticed, and he has now joined Hereford Rugby Club.

The move means that assistant coach Noel Speed moves up to take the head coach spot, to the delight of club chairman John Oakden.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Noel as the new head coach for Whitchurch Rugby Club for next season.

“Following the departure of Scott Sturdy to Hereford, the club has promoted Noel, currently assistant coach, to continue the great work performed by Scott and to guide the club through the future developments.

“Scott has been at the club for five years and has seen it have great success, winning promotion two years ago with a 100 per cent record. They also reached the final of the North Midlands Cup, losing narrowly to Droitwich.

“However, Scott has decided that the journey from his home in Ross-on-Wye up to Whitchurch three times a week was becoming too onerous and has accepted one of many offers from a club much closer.

“The whole of Whitchurch Rugby Club wish him all the best (except when we play Hereford) in his new post and thank him for all the great work over the past years.”

New head coach, Speed has come through the club from mini to junior and then senior sides.

He is currently a coach with Sale Sharks Academy having previously been head of rugby at Bishop Heber High School in Malpas.

“Noel was appointed assistant coach at Whitchurch three years ago and has helped formulate the exciting attacking style of non-stop rugby that they are now renown for,” added John.

The club was in fourth place in Midlands One (West) when the season was curtailed but were 12 points clear of fifth place and had three out of four home games left, including three against struggling sides.

Speed said that he was looking forward to the new challenge. and wanted to push Whitchurch even further and improve their impressive record of finishing fourth for the last two seasons.

He is also searching for an assistant coach to complete the three man coaching team in place at the club.

Max Pridmore will continue as coach to the Colts and the second XV and hopes to build on their success.