WE sat down with Northwich director of rugby Martin Poste to get his thoughts on how the season is unfolding across the senior squad and to gain his perspective on what could be a pivotal three weeks for the Blacks first XV beginning with their next home match against Keswick

Q: The win at home against then league leaders Wilmslow last month was the first of four very difficult winning fixtures before the weekend’s loss at Firwood Waterloo. Are you preparing any differently for these games?

Postie: Every team in this league can beat every other team.

Waterloo was always going to be a challenging fixture, however from the 18 players named on our teamsheet 13 came through our junior section, in comparison only three from Waterloo progressed via that route.

Last Saturday’s fixture at Waterloo was a hard-fought contest with Northwich sustaining five serious injuries and at various stages during the 80 minutes only had 12 players competing on the field.

Thankfully we now have a week’s recuperation.

That said, we prepare as thoroughly as we can for each and every game.

We will not be changing anything for the home match against Keswick or for the following two home matches against Stockport and Penrith.

On paper these three games do look to be tough coming into the back-end of the season, but we have recently had hugely competitive matches against Warrington, Altrincham and Firwood.

You cannot do anything other than prepare thoroughly and be physically and mentally ready for every fixture in this league. Any other approach will almost always result in a loss no matter which team you are playing.”

Q: How has this success been achieved?

Postie: Obviously, the players have a lot to do with that!

But the main catalyst for success has been the coaching group. This season we had to rebuild our entire back division and have built it from within.

It is working out far better than I anticipated, which is down to their thoroughness and hard work and the chemistry between them all.

They are a young and relatively inexperienced group, but they are all extremely professional in their preparation and cohesive outlook.

The senior playing squad has completely bought in to what the coaching group are looking to achieve.

That unity of purpose is reflected in the culture we are striving for and has always been there with the Blacks, which is what rugby and teamwork should be all about.

Q: What has pleased you most in how the season has developed so far?

Postie: When you are in a happy place it is often a little difficult to identify specific events or landmarks that have got you there.

However, it is perhaps easier to see what could have gone wrong and hasn’t!

The big changes we made at the start of the season to the set-up could have spectacularly imploded, but they have worked out hugely better than I expected. The personalities within the club are very different.

Q: I know you don’t like singling out individuals for special praise and recognition but if we push you who would it be?

Postie: That is both difficult and easy at the same time. There are a lot of players and coaching staff who are making a very positive difference and it would be easy to pick one of them.

But without our volunteers who keep the lights on nothing could be achieved so I could also pick one of them.

Currently we have used 24 players in the 1st XV squad. I would really like that number to be somewhere between 30-35 by the end of the season.

Q: What would you like to improve at Moss Farm?

Postie: Everyone in rugby knows about our little ‘shed’ clubhouse. It probably was at its best just after the war, but it’s home and if we can work within its confines, I am happy that the opposition are being reasonably treated as well.

The biggest difference I would like to see is a larger and noisier support!

When we go to Warrington and Waterloo and in years gone by to De La Salle, the home crowd was hugely passionate and partisan which I think is just brilliant.

People in Cheshire are just too polite and our normal supporters at Northwich definitely are!

I would like Moss Farm to have that welcoming but at the same time intimidating factor for the opposition. I think our rugby deserves it.