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Ilford Wanderers chairman Donovan wants to build the club up with future talents

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 September 2019

Ilford Wanderers in pre-season action (Pic: Colin Brown)

Ilford Wanderers in pre-season action (Pic: Colin Brown)

Archant

One of the oldest clubs in the area, Ilford Wanderers, is looking forward to a groundbreaking season according to chairman Darren Donovan.

The Wanderers finished fifth in the London Three Essex division last season but this season is about making new strides away from first-team action.

The Ilford-based club are improving their youth set-up and have also started up a girls' team ahead of the new campaign.

"This year we are rebooting our youth section under the banner of Ilford Lions which will see us sending RFU qualified coaches into local schools to spread the rugby message on the back of this year's Rugby World Cup," said Donovan.

"Hopefully, once the kids have caught the rugby bug, they will will come to the Wanderers where our team of experienced coaches can help them to learn and enjoy the game. We are also excited to announce the first-ever Ilford Wanderers girls' team.

"For 120-odd years, Wanderers have been male dominated, but with the help of local schools our girls will be the first to run out in Ilford colours.

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"Youth is the bedrock of any sports club. In fact, around a third of our present first team are products of our former youth section so we feel this is the way forward."

However, first-team captain Jason Taylor knows his squad will have their work cut out for them this season in the ever-improving London Three Essex.

"London Three has grown in strength over the last few years and there is now a massive challenge in every game," he said,

"But with some new players joining us we feel we are in a good place to challenge for the top. Last year the top two were the only teams we didn't beat.

"Basildon came down from London Two and I'm sure they will be keen to get straight back up and will bring a lot of experience from the higher league.

"Mavericks and Upminster came up and will be looking to stay as a minimum, so with the quality already in the league - East London and Chelmsford - it makes for a mouthwatering season.

"Last season our poor discipline let us down on many occasions and potentially stopped us reaching the top three. We've talked about this and are ready to focus on our systems and put a new Ilford on show."

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