A THIRD Lower Mid North Coast rugby union premiership success with the Old Bar Clams may be drawing a long bow for Teia Ambrosoli this winter, but a club record number of games appears well within his grasp
"I'll give it one more shot, one more season," the Old Bar club's 35-year-old former Mid North Coast Axemen representative hooker, Ambrosoli, said this week.
Hope springs eternal for Ambrosoli and the Clams with a new coach at the helm in Wayne Gahan and long-serving stalwart, Brian Groughan, as new club president.
Times have been tough for the Clams in the intervening seasons since their premiership triumphs of 2009 and 2011, but Ambrosoli senses newcomers to the area and several players returning to the Clams bodes encouragingly for this year.
Ambrosoli began his grade career with the Manning River club in 2005 only for the Ratz to fall short of playing numbers in his second season whereupon he joined the Clams for whom his courage and dedicated service have won him club life membership and the widespread respect of the community.
Those early seasons were gruelling times for local rugby players with games against clubs as far afield as Dorrigo, Coffs Harbour and Grafton, a situation which caused so much friction that the zone ultimately decided to divide the region into Lower and Upper MNC competitions following the 2007 premiership.
"I've played 154 games for the Clams," Ambrosoli related this week. "Richard Crook is the club record holder with 165 appearances. I feel I have just enough strength for 12 more games left in me.
"Things are looking brighter for the club this year. We're more positive and Wayne is trying some new ideas and fitness programs.
"He's impressing on everyone that it's not good enough to fail to train and expect to have a starting position in first grade. We're all behind that policy."
Richard Crook was convinced Teia Ambrosoli would become the Clams' new record-holder, suggesting Adam Gregory and Chad Lambert, the latter a flanker from Old Bar who has won two recent premierships with the Tamworth Pirates, were two who would have eclipsed his record had they remained in Old Bar.
While loth to be disparaging of his own Clams' record number of games, Crook pointed out he began his career in Sydney before moving to this area to play for Old Bar where he won two premierships, suggesting his lifetime number of games was nearer 300 than 165.
Old Bar train each Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm at Richard Crook Field.