FORMER Newport coach Norman Stalker is taking the reins at Ludlow Rugby Club.

Stalker, who lives in Knockin Heath, has been appointed as Ludlow’s new head coach.

Stalker has previously coached at Whitchurch, Chester, Wrexham and Caldy.

He says Ludlow Rugby Club ‘has bags of potential’.

“Last season, I was head coach at Newport,” said Stalker.

“We had a young squad and were hit by injuries and, unfortunately, we were relegated from National Three Midlands on the last day despite collecting 51 points.”

“It was a surprise to be released because Newport won the North Midlands Cup and I was going to be without a club.

“The Ludlow job came up and it turned out to be excellent timing. I am very happy to be at Ludlow.

“Ludlow have a young squad and finished in mid-table last season and have a good base on which to build.”

Stalker replaces Dave Irish, who quit the coach’s role in March during last term’s Midlands Two West (North) campaign.

A meeting for Ludlow’s players will take place next Thursday at 7.30pm at The Linney.

And pre-season training for senior players will get under way on Thursday, July 1.

“I started coaching as a teacher – I was a PE teacher for more than 20 years,” said Stalker, who now runs his own company, New Movement Solutions.

“I played most of my rugby at Chester and was at the club for 15 years.”

His proudest moment was helping to set up RGC 1404, formerly Gogledd Cymru, in North Wales.

“There was not any divisional rugby in North Wales at the time and everyone told us that it couldn’t be done,” said Stalker.

He added: “I like senior players to take coaching responsibilities. The job caught my imagination – Ludlow is a club which has long been in the shadow of Luctonians and has bags of potential.”

Ludlow spokesman Phil Norton added: “We would like to recruit new players as we want to build up our player base and put out as many teams as possible.”