Welcome back everyone, and to our first Player Focus of 2018. We’re just over half way through our season and a clear divide has opened up between the top 4 and the remaining teams in our league – fortunately we find ourselves comfortably in the top 4 with a realistic opportunity to push higher.
I’m pleased to say that gracing us with his brilliance for the first Player Focus this year is Ross Halliday – a relative newcomer to East Dorset and a fellow Arsenal fan… the man has taste, we’re on to a great start!
Afternoon Ross – thank you for being so eager to partake in our latest feature. Let us start by hearing a really random fact about you?
Afternoon Dom! Ha erm I have to say it would be that I’m into fish keeping and have a marine tank.
Well, thanks Ross. I suppose I did say random and not interesting so I can let you off there. Hopefully not a sign of how this interview is going to go…
You’ve been at East Dorset for the best part of two seasons now if I’m not mistaken. What’s been the key difference for you between this season and last when we were in D&W South 1?
Well I started training with East at the back end of last season but didn’t actually play a game. So this is my first proper season with the team. But what I can say is there is definitely a good atmosphere around the club this season.
Quite a frequent starter this season to, clearly you’ve made a positive impact. What bought you along to East Dorset originally?
Yeah I feel as though I’ve worked hard in training and improving my fitness and have been lucky enough to get a good run of starts in the team, which I’m pleased about as we have a good set of front row players! I was looking to get back into rugby and I knew one of the players, James, through work who told me about the club. So, I decided to come down and see what East was all about.
You’re a frequent attendee of Evo’s fitness sessions on a Tuesday. How beneficial have these sessions been for you on top of the regular Thursday training?
I try to get down as often as I can, they are definitely very beneficial! My fitness has improved massively with Evo! He has a lot of knowledge and is keen to share it with the team! I would highly recommend getting down if you can! Makes Thursdays a bit easier and you can feel it during the game when you need to give it that extra 10%
Great bit of advertising there – think there’s definitely a pint of two from Evo for that positive recommendation!! Ross, a little birdie tells me there is a wedding scheduled later this year?
Haha! That would be nice! That would be correct – I’m getting married this September.
Well congratulations Ross! So how far will we all need to travel to ensure we make it to your reception?
Thank you! Naomi is a very lucky lady! Don’t worry, you won’t have to travel far. The reception is in Bransgore! So not far at all.
Ha – yes I’m sure she is.. Great stuff, I’m sure the lads will be on their best behaviour. We look forward to your hand-written invites imminently.
Coming back to rugby – I recall my first game with you at the beginning of the season, you made a mistake (quite a big mistake) at the scrum I believe, and the other team humiliated you for it, clearly agitating you. You managed to regain composure, turned it around and absolutely destroyed them in the scrum from that point on. It’s not the first time you’ve avoided the red mist – how do you stay level headed, and are you up for teaching some other unnamed members of the squad how?
I’m sure they will be!
Yeah I do remember, I think that might have been my first game of the season having previously only played one pre-season friendly! It wasn’t my finest of moments! But that’s probably how I deal with it, by putting my anger into the next scrum. As I’m prone to having the red mist come down on occasions! Plus I’m no help to the team if I’m in the sin bin for lashing out! Haha, is that your way of asking for yourself by any chance?
Me? I’m a Saint – Don the Diffuser, that’s me. Anyway Ross, I’m leading this interview… Great awareness and definitely an infectious mentality, keep it up!
We recently held a joint scrummage session with Dorset Dockers, feedback of which has been great. What benefit did you get from the session and would you like to see more potential link ups in the future?
Just I’m sure I’ve had to stop you once or twice, no? But thanks, I will try my best!
It was a great session led by a very good ex professional player and as a team we came away with a lot from it! Personally it has helped me with my positioning in the lead up to the engagement of the scrum and I think a forwards session with the Dockers would help as it’s not often we can practise scrummaging against another full pack. The more we can practice the better!
Hopefully there will be more to come similar to that session, beneficial to all involved.
Ross, thank you for sparing some time for a chat this afternoon, before you go I just want to put one last question past you – where do you see East Dorset finishing this season?
No problem Don, thanks for asking me! I think 3rd is a very realistic goal. And as we are currently sat 4th I believe it is something we are very capable of achieving.
Fair assessment Ross, plenty of time to battle for 3rd spot. Thanks again Ross!
You should be able to catch Ross in action this weekend, Saturday 27th January, as we host Ellingham and Ringwood 2nd XV at Iford Lane. Come on down to lend your support to the team which as always is warmly received.
Updated 21:26 - 18 Apr 2018 by Joe Wyse-Polson