Season from Hell for Old Bar Clams

Old Bar captain-coach Chad Lambert tackles Manning's Ben Northam during the last clash between the sides. The Ratz and Clams meet at Old Bar on Saturday.

Old Bar captain-coach Chad Lambert tackles Manning's Ben Northam during the last clash between the sides. The Ratz and Clams meet at Old Bar on Saturday.

IT'S been the season from hell for the Old Bar Clams Rugby Club.

However, the club is already making plans to turn things around in 2015.

Old Bar made every Lower North Coast grand final contested from 2008 to 2012, winning two premierships.

Then the Clams sent shock waves through the competition in January 2013 when the club withdrew, citing a lack of players.

A new committee was formed late last year and the Clams returned to the competition this season under captain-coach Chad Lambert.

This is Lambert's first coaching appointment and he admits it has been a tougher gig than he initially expected.

Old Bar has yet to win a game from 10 starts. The side has scored just 48 points and conceded 484. Old Bar sits on -6 points as they were docked six points and fined $500 for not notifying the zone of their intention to forfeit a game to Forster-Tuncurry earlier this month.

Lambert concedes the end of the season can't come quickly enough.

"We're already planning our trip away,'' he said with a wry smile.

Lambert said he wasn't expecting miracles this year.

"We virtually didn't have a pre-season,'' he explained.

"We didn't have enough players until a couple of weeks before the first game. We hardly did any fitness work and had no real time to get to know one-another.''

Just to make things more difficult the Clams came up against last season's grand finalists, Manning Ratz, in the opening match. Lambert and a number of other Clams switched to the Ratz last year to get a game so they knew what to expect.

The Clams were hammered 64-0. That was the first time the Ratz had beaten Old Bar in a competition game since the LNC premiership started back in 2008.

Lambert revealed that 35 players have turned out for the club this year. But at the moment they're struggling for numbers.

"We've had a few injuries and others dropped out because they didn't like getting beaten every year,'' he said.

Optimistically, Lambert still held hope the side could make the semi-finals until the forfeit to Forster-Tuncurry.

He says there has been some improvement.

"We're more competitive now,'' he said.

"That's all I can ask.''

But Lambert expects the club will be better organised for next year's campaign.

"We should be able to start looking for players earlier and get things in place,'' he said.

Lambert will coach again if there's no alternative.

"I'd prefer not to,'' he admitted.

"I've learnt a lot and I think I'm a better coach now than when we started. If possible I'd like to give a more experienced coach a hand and learn some more before I?go into coaching again.

"But I'll see what happens. If I?have to coach then I?will.''

The competition's third round kicks off tomorrow, with the Clams to host the Ratz.

After that there's just four more games to go for the beleaguered Old Bar side.

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