Parkes looking for new talent as Fishermen start squad building
BRIXHAM coach Dan Parkes feels the Fishermen have proved they are genuine National Three South West material.
As the season takes a mid-winter break for two weeks, Brixham are sixth in a table of 14 and mathematically much closer to the top than the bottom.
Last season's South West One champions hit the ground running with back-to-back wins over Old Patesians (67-26) then Oxford Harlequins (69-8) before reality kicked in with a 19-8 defeat away to Redingensians.
The response was immediate – Amersham were thrashed 77-17 – and since then Newton have only lost to Weston (3rd), leaders London Irish, second-placed Exmouth and Newton Abbot (4th).
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London Irish are the only side to have beaten Brixham by a margin wider than five points since Redingensians – and no team below them has defeated Brixham yet.
Getting up and staying up are totally different propositions, but Parkes feels Brixham have made their mark.
"At the start of the season there was a buzz and a bounce about the place, but after a while that can wear off," said Parkes.
"If you look at our results so far no one has made us look like idiots. We have not fallen flat on our faces, which one or two people probably hoped we would.
"Apart from the London Irish game (49-22) every defeat we have had has been by a score or less.
"One more try in every game we lost and we would be top of the table, not London Irish.
"We are not complacent at all, but we have shown we are in the right division for our ability."
Brixham may have 13 games to go before the campaign ends in April, but Parkes is already looking ahead to 2013-14, which will be his fifth at the helm.
"Now is the time to start building for next season, not sitting back and saying how well we have done," said Parkes.
"You have to keep striving all the time to improve. Once you settle for standing still it isn't long before you start to slide backwards."
Brixham are keen to bring Navy scrum-half Johnny Stephens to Astley Park following his posting to BRNC Dartmouth.
Parkes has also sounded out former Nottingham, Exeter Chiefs and Plymouth Albion prop Ryan Hopkins about a possible move to Brixham.
Plymouth Albion have released Hopkins from the contract he has been on at the Brickfields since 2004.
Hopkins wants to concentrate on obtaining his teaching degree, which means rugby now has second place in his priorities.
However, experienced props are like gold dust at any level and Hopkins remains registered with Albion just in case they need him.
Teignmouth's RFU Intermediate Vase game against Saltash last Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
New Cross were waved through in the Junior Vase by St Just, who could not raise a side for the trip to Kingsteignton.