With seven league fixtures of the National League One season remaining, much is happening behind the scenes at Plymouth Albion to secure the services of squad members for next year.
A number of key players are already on long term contracts and director of rugby Nigel Sparrow and head coach Kieran Hallett are finalising plans to put a winning team together.
This week’s good news is that prop Luke Chapman and full-back Jordan Gott have agreed one-year contracts, joining long term signings John Kelly, George Mills, Dan Pullinger, Seta Raumakita, Matthew Shepherd, Herbie Stupple and Dan Williams on next season’s squad list.
Head coach Kieran Hallett says: “They are two players who have done very well this year. Luke has come in and in the last couple of months has established himself as a regular starter for us. He got an opportunity when Will Norton was injured at Fylde and has come in and performed really well.
“Jordan has probably been frustrated with the amount of game time he has had. He came from a lower level, developed in training and showed glimpses here and there. The challenge for him is to continue that development and to kick on and challenge the other two guys we have in his position for a start next year.”
Gott, 22, from Portsmouth, joined Albion last May from St Ives, having played for the Western Counties West club while training with Cornish Pirates.
Of his first season with Albion, the versatile back says: “The club have been good to me. They are a good bunch of boys and I am in no rush to leave. The club supported me with my Navy application which was also a big tick in the box so I didn’t really hesitate.”
Gott has played mostly at full-back but is comfortable in a number of positions and has featured on the wing in Albion’s most recent fixtures away at Ampthill and at home against Bishop’s Stortford.
“I can play 10, 12 or 13 but predominantly back three or 10 if I am needed. Full-back is my preferred position on a nice dry day but on a cold, windy, horrible afternoon I would rather be a bit closer to the wall!”
Gott, who combines his rugby with a career in landscaping and groundworks, spent much of the year with Albion sponsor YGS Landscapes.
He has set himself a simple goal for next season: “I’d like to start more. It doesn’t matter what position – I am not fussed. I just want to play as much as I can.
“It would be nice to go up but even if we don’t that is not a big target of mine. For me it is to secure the shirt and support the boys to do well.”
Gott is joined by popular prop and ex-Cornish Pirate Luke Chapman.
Chapman, 22, from Looe, is enjoying his time with Plymouth Albion.
“I like the way we play and I love it here. Our target is to win every game but we set a goal every month or so. Obviously we want second or first place but the higher we can get the better.
The self-employed garden landscaper is happy with his season and has a clear future goal for his rugby: “I think it has gone really well. Over the last two years I haven’t really had an opportunity to play like I have here. The last three months especially have gone well for me.
“I just want to be playing regularly at the best possible level.
“We want be the best we can every week and keep trying to get better. If that means we finish second then that means we finish second. But I believe in the future of this club and I didn’t hesitate at all when Nigel asked me. I believe in what they are trying to do here and I want to be part of it.”
Kieran Hallett is hoping that further signings will follow soon: “These are hopefully the first of many. We want to retain everyone and then see any areas where we need more strength in depth. Ultimately if we can keep this group together and moving forward there is no reason why we can’t be challenging at the top again next year.”