Gabey back at Saints to help relegation battle

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By The Bristol Post | Thursday, December 06, 2012, 16:52

NEW head coach Mark 'Digger' Gabey is threatening to dust off his boots to help St Mary's Old Boys in their battle to avoid relegation from Gloucester Premier.

The former Bristol, Bath and London Irish back-five forward returns to Northwood Park for a second spell in charge after taking over from Dave Healy who left the club by mutual consent.

And Gabey, who was on the touchline for last weekend's 4-3 reverse at leaders Drybrook, was encouraged enough by what he saw to feel that Saints can pull themselves off the foot of the table and move to safety.

The 39-year-old Australian said: "We gifted Drybrook 14 points, and if you take those two tries out of the equation the scoreline is a bit more respectable taking into account our positions in the table.

"There were a lot of positives from our point of view, but a few things need to be tweaked, including adding a bit more structure and organisation, and technically I don't think the team is as good as it could be.

"It's a very young squad, the oldest player is only 26 or 27, they just need a bit of guidance."

Gabey could even feature himself and former Bristol team-mate Ben Breeze is being lined up to run some specialist sessions for the backs after Christmas.

Saints return to action tomorrow, at home to Dursley, while at the top of the table it's second against third with Frampton Cotterell away to Southmead.

Weston-super-Mare, third in National Three South West, bid to end a run of two successive defeats when unbeaten leaders London Irish Wild Geese arrive at the Rec (2.30pm).

The club's Past Players Association are marking the occasion with a pre-Christmas get together, assembling from 1pm in the committee room.

At the other end of the table it's a big day for 11th-placed Avonmouth, who can pull further clear of the drop zone with a good result against second bottom Oxford Harlequins.

In South West One West, Old Reds bid to make it seven in a row when they entertain Combination rivals Thornbury (2.15pm).

George Templar, a flanker who originally began his career at Chew Valley before studying in Bedford, is drafted into the Reds squad for the first time this season.

Clifton, meanwhile, host Chinnor, who are two places above them in sixth, in National Two South while Dings Crusaders face a long trip to Shelford, in Cambridge.

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