Hot on the heels of retaining no less than 33 squad members from their championship-winning Midlands Premier Division campaign, the Bees have announced a raft of new signings to further strengthen the squad for the 2018/19 season.
Marcus Brown, already a familiar and popular figure at the club following his loan spell from Cinderford last season, has joined the Bees on a permanent basis. The flanker made 81 appearances for Cinderford before his move to the Bees and has played A League Rugby for Gloucester as well as the county.
The front row union has two new faces in the form of hooker Ryan Charles and Hooker/Prop Alex Willis.
Joining the Bees from Matson RFC where he played last season, Ryan Charles is a former member of the England U18 & U20 squad who has had spells with Hartpury College, the Gloucester Rugby Academy/A League and Cinderford, where he saw National League 1 action whilst on loan from Gloucester.
Alex Willis will be more familiar to Bees’ supporters, having featured in the Bournville side for the last two season, as well as also playing representative rugby for North Midlands.
Engine room options have also been bolstered with the addition of second rower Will Goodman, who plied his trade with Hertford RFC in the London & South East Premier League last season.
In the back division, Head of Rugby Pete Glackin has added four new names to the squad for the 2018/19 National League 2 South campaign. Corey Venus and Adam Nunney have both joined from National League 2 North side South Leicester, with Dan Kelly and Luke Smith – both with previous connections to the club – also putting pen to paper.
Fullback/winger Corey Venus’s rugby CV includes representing Scotland at U20 level, two seasons with the Leicester Tigers Academy 2010-2012, a season with Championship side Nottingham Rugby in 2014/15, a spell with French side Stade Domontois in 2015/16, as well as a season at Stourbridge in 2016/17, before his move to South Leicester.
Before joining South Leicester in 2017, centre Adam Nunney had a season with Syston after he returned from the University of Queensland. He has also played representative rugby for Leicestershire.
Portway will be familiar territory for Age Grade product Dan Kelly, who returns to the Bees after University and rugby development in the north of England. Whilst playing University rugby at both Sheffield and Leeds Beckett, where he was also a member of the England Students squad in 2017/18, Dan also featured for Newcastle Falcons in A league rugby, as well as appearances for Sheffield Tigers and Rotherham Titans.
Luke Smith will also know his way around the facilities at B94, not only as a former Bee, but also through his recent spells at local rivals Bournville and Old Halesonians. A North Midlands County Squad player, the pacey winger also had a spell with Worcester Warriors Academy.
As well as the new squad signings, Pete Glackin has also confirmed that Steve Johns will move to a player/backs coach role for the 2018/19 season, adding to the Senior Coaching Group.
“Steve has done some great work supporting the age grade groups at the club and works extensively in the rugby community in his full-time role. He is a natural leader who has demonstrated his qualities both on and off the field throughout our league winning season. With this new role, Steve can develop his coaching skillset in the senior coaching set up whilst continuing his playing career."
Commenting on the new signings, Pete Glackin added, “Developing the squad is an essential part of the club’s return to National League 2. However, adding to the culture and environment which has been developed over the last two seasons is an extremely important part of this process. Bringing in players who are hungry to succeed, that want to continue to develop as players and to add their own value to this extremely exciting squad is essential as we move forward. I would like to welcome the new players to the club and very much look forward to working with them for the season ahead.”
Updated 12:50 - 27 Aug 2018 by Richard Smith