DROITWICH director of rugby Adam Drew has described reaching the RFU Senior Vase final as “a dream come true.”
Droitwich beat Lancashire side Tarleton 23-11 in yesterday's semi-final and will now face Farnham from Surrey in the final at Twickenham on Saturday, May 6.
Droitwich had already won the Midlands Three West (South) title and the Midlands Senior Vase and the Twickenham trip will cap a memorable season for Drew and his new coaching team.
Drew was appointed last summer after Droitwich had been relegated and struggled to get plyers to training.
Although Drew had no senior coaching experience, he had enjoyed success in Droitwich’s mini and junior section, guiding a team to successive North Midlands titles from under-10 to under-17 levels.
The arrival of former Birmingham & Solihull and Dudley Kingswinford flanker Pete Knight as player-coach and the return from Bromsgrove of prop James Shewell – Droitwich’s captain this season – and back row forward Phil Horton also helped Drew to transform the club’s fortunes.
“It’s a dream come true. When I took over as director of rugby in July I set the goal of finishing mid-table, maybe finishing fourth.
"That would have been a great result for the season, but to win the league, the Midlands Vase and get to Twickenham is just incredible,” Drew said.
“There’s a lot of hard work that has gone into it behind the scenes. We have fantastic players, a really good atmosphere and it has been an incredible effort by everybody.
“I have been with the club 14 years and have come up through the mini and junior section. My age group won the North Midlands Cup every year from Under -10s to Under-17s.
“From that I gained a lot of experience. You don’t just become coaches, you become baby-sitters, you become managers. There’s a lot of work that goes into supporting the players. That is crucial.
“We have good numbers at training every Tuesday and Thursday. When you have strong numbers you can do things. Giving the team confidence and morale is a fundamental part of getting it right. We have done that and lads have done it on the pitch.”
Drew has also been supported by coaches Blair Hunter, Andy McGuinness and Worcester Warriors centre Jackson Willison.
Willison missed the Tarleton match because he was helping Worcester bet Bath a few miles down the M5 but he joined in the celebrations later in the evening.
“Jackson played for Worcester against Bath and won but he came and joined us last night in the celebrations which shows a lot of commitment,” Drew said.
Droitwich were roared to victory against Tarleton by a crowd of around 800 and they expect to have another sizeable support at Twickenham for a match that will put the spa town on the rugby map.
“It’s absolutely fantastic. In all the time I have been at the club I’ve never seen it as busy or as packed as yesterday. It’s great for the town and for everybody involved with the club,” he said.
“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing with messages of congratulations. It’s absolutely incredible.
“We will go to Twickenham, win or lose I’m not really bothered. The fact we have got to Twickenham is something that everybody will remember.
“Obviously, it would be nice to win but Farnham must be a strong side to have got to the final. We will have to play better than we did yesterday to beat them.”