FOCUS on improving Royal Wootton Bassett’s Colts system has paid off after the club learnt that teenagers Ethan Stock and Maikeli Volavola had been selected to represent South West U18s for their upcoming divisional games.

Across the entire of Dorset and Wiltshire, only five players were selected by the South West committee to represent the region – two of those five hailing from Ballards Ash.

Both players’ call-ups are the reward of years of hard work and academy development by the South West One (East) outfit.

Stock joined the club three years ago from Minety while Volavola has been with Bassett for several seasons.

Colts coach Mark Roshier – who is midway through his 27th year with the club – paid tribute to both of his most promising players and said their call-up was thoroughly deserved.

He added: “This is a fantastic achievement for both players, and it’s brilliant for the club too – I’m really pleased for both of them.

“They deserve it given the hard work they have put in this season. Ethan (Stock) has played in the first team all season and Maikeli has acted as cover for injuries.

“They both have great experience, which has helped them develop physically. When they play at their own level, they’ll feel more comfortable.”

The future is without question bright for Bassett.

The club’s first team is currently chasing promotion to the Southern Premier Division, while the installation of a new gym and fitness equipment – plus club legend Tim Gallimore’s new role as head of strength and conditioning – has generated a feel-good spark.

In addition, six players currently at U16s level are representing Dorset and Wiltshire this season.

Roshier is a strong believer that players benefit from working under different coaches as they develop their careers

He explained: “We don’t change things every year, so we will have two years of working with players while they’re in the Colts setup.

“It’s my job to get players ready for senior rugby, and we can do that with our facilities. We have great pitches – it’s very rare we lose a training session because of the quality of the surface.

“Tim Gallimore (strength and conditioning coach) has done some great work, as has Alan (Low, first team coach).

“There’s a strong sense of togetherness at the club right now.

“Mine and Alan’s view is to identify these players early and get them onboard.

“That way, a lot of players at U16s have already played for the Colts by time they join.

“A lot of current first-team members all played up at junior age groups – so the system works currently.

“We’re trying to change things, though.

“U16s now train with the Colts, and we all eat a meal at the club after training on a Thursday.”