Rosslyn Park winger Neville Edwards is facing competition for his shirt, and he will not be giving it away easily.
And the 24-year-old is not alone because, according to Edwards, competition for places is part of the driving force behind Park’s success this season.
That success continued last weekend with a professional 37-17 derby win at London rivals Richmond in National League One, in front of 1,500 fans.
Edwards got on the scoresheet twice, while Matt Heeks, Dom Shabbo and Ed Lewis-Pratt, as well as 12 points off Ross Laidlaw’s boot, completed the scoring to keep Park second in the table, four points behind Ealing Trailfinders.
Edwards, who has eight tries to his name this season, said: “We’re in a good place right now and there’s a good spirit in the squad.
“More importantly, there is real competition for places because everyone wants to play in the team.
“Everyone is after your shirt and I have no intention of giving mine away. I’ve worked very hard, both in training and away from the ground, to improve my game.
“There was a time when you knew you would be starting a game however you had played, but it is not like that this season. Jan [Bonney, head coach] has brought in some really good players and he is rotating certain parts of the squad well.”
On the Richmond game, Edwards said: “It was the biggest crowd we’ve played in front of this season and was a really enjoyable experience.
“We were in total control in the first half, but in the second half we had the wind in our faces and when we lost a player to the sin bin [Hugo Ellis], we had to defend really hard, which we managed to do.
“We grabbed a couple of turn over tries at the end, I got one of them, which was a great ending.”
Coach Bonney said: “It was the proverbial game of two halves. With the wind in our face in the second half, we could lose the ball in their half and find ourselves on our own 22 very quickly. Overall I was very pleased at how the guys played the tough conditions.”
He added: “We’re five points ahead of Blaydon in third, but that can disappear in a game. If we lose to Fylde this weekend and Blaydon win, then that gap is gone.
“And we have got some really tough games coming up. Not only have Fylde beaten us before, but next is Blackheath and they have beaten us, and then it is Esher, who came down from the Championship.
“So yes, we’re in a good spot and we’re happy to be there, but it can change very quickly.
“We also have to go to Blaydon before Christmas when conditions up north could be very difficult.”
Park host Fylde on Saturday at Priory Lane.