Following last weekend’s last-gasp 32-26 win over Gloucestershire Warriors at Brooksby Melton College, Leicester Storm Rugby League Club head coach Dean Thomas has revealed how the atmosphere within the Storm camp is ‘buzzing’.
On Saturday (18th April, 2:00pm), the Storm make the short trip to take on Coventry Bears Reserves, in the first encounter to form a brand-new East Midlands derby in Conference League South, and Thomas believes that the manner in which his team grabbed the win against Gloucestershire last time out shows how far the Storm have come in a short space of time.
“The atmosphere at training this week was fantastic, the lads were buzzing,” said Thomas.
“I think the fact that the team was able to grind out the win is a testament to how far we have come. Last season, we would have been losing games in those circumstances, with our defeats to Valley Cougars and Bristol Sonics a prime example of that. However, this season, we have learned from last year’s experiences.
“We’re now two for two on home soil and playing in a Leicestershire environment is benefiting us. Having a local crowd and a place that we can call home now, I wouldn’t say we have created a fortress, but we’re certainly feeling as though we can be dominant at home.
“Considering we have a young group of players, with half of this team being under 19-years-old, makes it even more encouraging. Our players haven’t necessarily come from a rugby league background – and rugby league is a tough game, so to see them learning how to grind out wins is very pleasing.”
This weekend’s fixture with Coventry Bears Reserves, whose parent club Coventry Bears play in the Kingstone Press Championship 2, will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides.
Having enjoyed local fixtures against Nottingham Outlaws and Northampton Demons in recent years, Thomas has revealed how much he is enjoying commencing what he hopes will become a new local rivalry, which already has a grounding with two Storm players – Ty Watson and Tim Farnden – having previously played at Coventry, with Watson a former captain and coach during his time at the other end of the M69.
“We used to enjoy the games we had with Nottingham and Northampton; they were our derby fixtures. We still compete against the Outlaws, but Northampton play in the division below us now, so it will be nice to play in a new local fixture. I think it will be great for the fans and hopefully the players will develop that sense of a local rivalry over time. We’re looking forward to the match.
“At this level, you don’t have as much access to footage of other team’s games, so we need to focus on what we do. Last week, we conceded a number of penalties and that let us down, so we have been working on that and ensuring that we secure the ball when in possession and make the most of our sets of six. If we can cut out the errors we displayed against Gloucestershire, we stand a great chance.”
Leicester Storm take on Coventry Bears Reserves in Conference League South at Butts Park Arena on Saturday 18th April, kicking off at 2:00pm.
The Storm’s next home fixture will take place on Saturday 25th April against Oxford Cavaliers (2:00pm) at Brooksby Melton College (Brooksby Campus).