Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Rams prop raring to get season under way

COACHES’ player of the year Ant Marris is looking to kick on from a breakthrough season as Rams gear up for their third crack at National 1, writes Richard Ashton.

The popular prop has endured some tough times in the past few years — missing more than a year following knee surgery as Rams won National 2 South, and then having his return to action stopped after just two games as the coronavirus pandemic struck. With the 2020/21 campaign cancelled, Marris was then afflicted by long covid in the early part of last season, but went on to pick up the coaches’ prize.

Reflecting on last term Marris revealed: “For me last season was just great to be back playing rugby after a year out, and a first proper crack in National 1.

“I didn’t feel out of place and really enjoyed it, and I’m just really looking forward to the new season now.

“Coming back into last pre-season I was suffering a bit from long covid and it took me a long time to get back to real 80-minute match fitness.

“That’s down to Daryl (Watson) and Joe (Southwell) and all the coaches for sticking with me and helping me through the dark times.”

A memorable campaign for Marris then continued on to the end of May, when his last-gasp try for Oxfordshire helped them snatch a dramatic 7-5 Bill Beaumont County Championship Division 3 title victory against a Berkshire side featuring nine of his Rams colleagues.

Having been back in training since the start of July, Marris is pleased with how things are looking at Old Bath Road and concluded: “The past couple of weeks of pre-season has been good and I’m just looking to keep working hard, listening to Owen (Root) and (James) Baker and doing individual bits with them. Everyone is working on things to improve, whether it be tackaling or other things.”

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