Chesters fit and raring to go for new season
Phil Chesters is back to full fitness and ready for the start of the 2016-17 Greene King IPA Championship season.
The flying wing missed the latter stages of the 2015-16 campaign after picking up a knee injury that left him on eight tries for the season and behind fellow wing Rhys Crane in the leading try-scorers count.
However, he has worked his way back to fitness and will be in contention for a starting place in the pre-season friendlies and the first match of the season against Yorkshire Carnegie on Saturday, 3 September at Vallis Way.
“I’m fully fit again,” he said. “Last season I missed the last seven weeks with a knee injury, but I’ve been back fully fit from the first second week of June and I’ve been participating fully in pre-season and its going well so far.”
Chesters and Crane will again be pushing each other hard in the try-scoring stakes. Callum Wilson has signed on for his second season at Vallis Way and James Cordy-Redden has returned after he played twice last season and will bring with him experience of the England 7s team.
Curtis Wilson is another new face and one that Ben Ward’s team know well after he scored a hat-trick for Rotherham Titans in the British and Irish Cup match at Vallis Way last season.
“Every year there is great competition for the back three,” Chesters said. “JCR can play both centre or wing and you’ve got Curtis coming in. I think he is a player who the club have wanted to sign for a couple of years, so I think he’s going to be a really good acquisition for the squad and I’m looking forward to playing alongside him.
“The fullbacks, Luke Daniels and Will Harries, can play on the wing as well. We’ve got great competition in the back three, so it will be good again this year.”
Ealing Trailfinders take to the road to face a Newport-Gwent Development XV and Coventry in their first pre-season matches before they complete their preparations at home to Hartpury College on Saturday 27 August.
A week later they open the season against Carnegie who won both league encounters last season. They are a team Chesters and his teammates will get to know well this season as they have also been drawn against them in the British and Irish Cup.
“It is going to be really tough for everyone to show their wares in those three pre-season games, but as a team it is important that we put into practice in what we’ve been working on in these six weeks to kick on for that match against Yorkshire,” Chesters said.
“We won’t think about the results from last year against them. It is a new season, it is the first game and we can’t look further ahead into the first month of the season. We have to focus on Yorkshire when they have to come to us and we’re going to look to kick off our season with a win.”