In Focus: Nick Royle
Nick Royle has urged Caldy to “pull together” as the Wirral outfit look to avoid relegation on the final day of the National One season. (Photo Credit: Derek Salisbury)
Gareth Davies’ side are currently two points clear of the drop zone and a victory over rivals Birmingham Moseley would confirm their place in the division for another year.
Throughout his career, Royle has experienced the big pressure occasions whether that be with England 7s or Caldy and he hopes the team can all stick together as they aim to survive.
The winger said: “I think I can help with experience, but it is more about pulling together. It was massive beating Sale FC to promotion [in 2017] to come up into this division, but this is just as big.
“I have never been in a team which has been relegated before and I am sure a lot of the lads won’t want to experience relegation either so we are going to put everything into the shirt on Saturday and I am sure we can pull off a victory.”
This is Caldy’s second season in National One. Last year, they produced a solid performance to finish in 11th place and the men from Paton Field also begun this campaign on the front foot.
Seven wins from their first 11 matches, including excellent victories against the likes of Ampthill & District, Bishop’s Stortford and Chinnor, meant Caldy were sat towards the summit of the division.
But, injuries hit and Caldy dramatically fell down the table as they managed just two wins from their next 16 games.
Royle added: “We only have a small squad. We don’t really get many loan players in so we don’t have that massive pool of players which some teams might have.
“They get loan players in meaning they have got bigger squads and we don’t have as much money as others so it is really difficult when you do get injuries.”
However, Caldy have sparked back into life when it has mattered most. Successive wins over Darlington Mowden Park and Rosslyn Park have lifted the Wirral side out of the bottom three and Royle admits the belief is strong amongst the players.
“We know our potential when we have our players fit,” he said. “We have got great potential and I think we can turn any team over in this league on our day if we play well.
“I think the last two games have been about self-belief. We got that win against Darlington and everyone bought into it. We knew we were in a bit of a bad patch and we knew we needed to play well to pull it out. At the minute, everyone is bonding at the club and there is a good buzz about the club.”
And when things are clicking for Caldy, Royle certainly plays an integral part. The flying winger is the all-time leading try scorer in National Two North and in the third tier this season, he has chipped in with 20 tries for his club.
Just two days to go until the final weekend of the National League season and all eyes will be on the relegation fight in #Nat1!
Who will survive?https://t.co/4AiWgC0SAp
— NCA Rugby (@nca_rugby) April 25, 2019
Only Chinnor’s Craig Holland and Blackheath’s Jake Lloyd have crossed the whitewash more than the prolific Royle this term, but he insists his focus is on making sure the team get the desired result.
“I know I love to score, but it’s more important we are getting wins,” he said. “I do get some decent ball!
“When we are playing well, our backs are as good as any in the league. I think at the start of the season when it was dry, I got a lot of ball and scored quite a few tries. When the weather got bad and our backs couldn’t play the rugby we would like to play, I sort of sloped off a bit but I have started to score the last few weeks with the weather changing because that suits my game.”
Royle will now be eager to play his part on a crucial afternoon for Caldy when they travel to Birmingham Moseley this weekend.
Moseley, themselves, aren’t mathematically safe either but they require just a single point to secure their position in National One for next season.
For both sides, their fate is in their own hands and Royle hopes Caldy can get the job done as they look to confirm a third successive campaign in the division.
He added: “It is going to be a great game. We have been doing our analysis and they like to throw the ball around a bit, as do we.
“I know they have got backs who like to throw it about, but without a shadow of a doubt, we have got a better backline and if it is a nice track at the weekend, I think we will have some success.
“We know we have got to go to Moseley and we have got to do a job and we believe we can do that. We know we are playing well and we know what we can do. We know that we can stay up.”