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Bugden steps down as Salisbury's head coach
MARK Bugden has stepped down as Salisbury’s head coach following a string of seven successive defeats in South West 1 (East) League.
Bugden leaves rock-bottom Salisbury due to business pressures after spending three years at the club, but will remain involved as assistant to new boss Neil Loader, whose role begins imminently.
Loader, a dynamic Level 3 rugby coach, spent six years as a coach in the Italian Rugby Premiership, coached the Dorset & Wilts Senior XV for the past four seasons – helping win the county championship twice – and worked with Bristol and Gloucester elite player development groups.
An announcement on Salisbury’s club website says: “The arrival of Neil demonstrates the club’s ambition to build on the successes that Mark has achieved with dedication and inspirational coaching over the past three seasons.”
“Mark took over the role of head coach when we had been relegated to Southern Counties and not only rebuilt the team, but coached them back to promotion, followed by a runners-up place, losing out in the promotion play-off to Avonmouth Old Boys and then last season finishing fifth.
“We are fortunate that Mark will stay with us taking up a role of assistant coach, working with Neil and others to help rebuild our fortunes this season and beyond.”
Salisbury’s latest defeat came on Saturday at home to high-flying Swindon 48-24, but they went down with a strong contest.
Swindon, a large and well drilled side, have not climbed to the top-of-the-table without good reason. They used their big forwards well and drove over twice in the first quarter of an hour before Phil Carr showed his strength and speed to pull a score back, Andy Herriott converting.
Further tries from the visitors’ Lloyd Thomas and Mark Chatwin stretched the lead to 7-26 at the interval.
Swindon continued to use their size to good advantage in the second half, driving over for a further two scores, and running in another, but Salisbury refused to lie down. With five minutes remaining, Jonah Thorpe pinned his ears back and sprinted away to score before Carr grabbed his second of the afternoon.
Unbelievably the Swindon wing Chatwin scored again before replacement Rich Knight crossed deep in injury time to secure the hosts’ first bonus point of the season, Herriott having the final say with the conversion.
Salisbury Colts produced a dominant 24-0 triumph over Weymouth Colts.