26th November 2018 - Rockleaze looking to build from new base
By Simon Parkinson
PETER Bradbury believes Rockleaze Rangers will relish every moment of performing on their brand-new 3G surface at Hillside Gardens.
Whilst Saturday’s eagerly-awaited bow at the £4.5 million UWE sports complex in Frenchay didn’t quite go to plan as Broadwell Amateurs spoilt Rangers’ opening-day party with a come-from-behind 3-2 Marcliff Gloucestershire County League victory, their manager was left nevertheless rubbing his hands at prospects in store.
Ironically Rockleaze’s next big away test tomorrow against league leaders Lebeq United will be played out on the Gloucestershire FA’s own 3G pitch (1pm).
It is then back to Hillside for successive home games on Rangers’ own artificial facility against Hanham Athletic and Stonehouse Town on December 1 and 8 respectively, giving Bradbury’s boys plenty of opportunity to adapt to the change underfoot.
He enthused: "It really is a fantastic new home for us at Hillside. On some artificial pitches the ball bounces and dies, but here it plays just like a grass pitch without the mud and uneven surface.
"There’s a covered stand sited between the two 3G pitches which means spectators standing there can watch two games at the same time.
"Of course it was a pity to lose our first game there but the lads loved it and the changing room block is magnificent too with lots of space.
"It’s all top-notch and there’s clearly been no expense spared where UWE are concerned."
All appeared to be going to plan first-off at the new HQ as Rockleaze surged into a two-goal lead through Rory Langdon’s early second-half brace, only for the visitors to respond by netting three times to steal the points.
"It was just disappointing that shortly after going two-up our winger Jay Moore rounded their keeper and couldn’t quite find the net from a very tight angle," Bradbury reflected.
"Instead Broadwell scored their first goal shortly after and our game management then was found wanting, partly due to us having such a young side lacking in experience.
"I encourage players to play to their strengths and with us it’s about attacking and expansive football. You want players and spectators enjoying themselves and it’s a fine balance to strike. But we’ll get there."
Rangers lock horns with Lebeq seventh in the standings and their boss has been largely satisfied with what he’s seen of his charges of late.
"Our only poor performance came against AEK Boco (3-0 defeat) in our previous game, although maybe me getting our tactics wrong played a part," he confessed.
"Before that we played really well for 90 minutes against Frampton and had we taken our chances in the first half-hour we’d have been out of sight. Like last Saturday, we ended up losing 3-2."
The Rangers supremo stressed: "When we were all based at Coombe Dingle we did struggle to attract players from the locality, with so much competition from other Bristol clubs.
"Now we have a fixed base I’m hoping we’ll prove more of a draw, with four senior men’s sides and a veterans team using our new facility and our juniors and youth from aged 11-up also based here now. The under-6s to under-10s are to continue at Coombe Dingle.
"That should all make the pathway from youth to senior status that much smoother and it’s great that our first-team squad already contains two lads in Marcus Williams and Rory Langdon who began with us as under-6s, whilst 12 or so currently within the club started out with our junior section.
"We’ve also appointed a new reserve team manager in Jack Richardson who had been managing Kingswood in the County League until recently. He’s a young guy and I’m sure his energy and enthusiasm can benefit them and the club."