Rugby union: Promoted Stoke finally rising to their heavyweight challenge
SIMON Price has credited a summer of tyre flipping and log pressing for the red-hot try-scoring form which has helped get Stoke back on track.
The 34-year-old centre scored four times in Stoke's 86-0 weekend rout of Northwich, so ending spectacularly a run of three successive defeats for the promoted team.
This weekend they head to Old Halesonians with Price aware the opposition include a couple of old pros in Carl Robinson and Tom Jordan.
But he says rolling over 200kg weights at Caveman Training in Fenton should help Stoke deal with one of the powerhouses of Midlands One West (North).
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"I'm getting on a bit now, but I feel fit and my form is okay," said Price, who is also Stoke's assistant coach.
"I had a decent pre-season when I did a lot of training on my own, and we are all benefiting from using Caveman Training for our power and strength.
"We are tyre flipping and log pressing as well as doing dips and squats. It is more interesting than regular weights and it should all pay off.
"This level of rugby has changed even since I last played there three years ago. People are much fitter now and taking weekend sport much more seriously. We have to stay one step ahead."
Halesonians started their campaign with three wins, including a 65-0 pasting of Northwich, but have since drawn against Worcester and lost to Stratford.
Yet their defence is still by far the tightest in the division, conceding just 40 points so far.
Price and Stoke skipper Chris Rowley played alongside Robinson and Jordan during their time at Stourbridge five years ago.
And the former Longton man expects a tough challenge as his side look to nail back-to-back wins for the first time this season. He said: "It will be a difficult game away from home. They are a physical side and have a couple of ex-pros in Carl at centre and Tom at flanker.
"But I still think if we can play our top game for 80 minutes we can get past anyone in this division.
"There were times last season when we could switch off for 20 minutes and still win comfortably, but we will not get away with that most weeks this year.
"We still only performed for 60 minutes against Northwich, but we will need to focus from the first whistle to last if we are going to get anything this weekend.
"That said, if we do manage to get another victory I think we can get on a bit of a roll and our season can really get going."
In South Lancs/Cheshire One, it does not get any easier for CREWE AND NANTWICH as they try to get back to winning ways.
Last weekend, they slipped to their third defeat of the season when they went down 28-23 in their first encounter with New Brighton since 1980.
This Saturday they take on early leaders Broughton Park at home, but chairman Jon Cockburn is refusing to panic.
He said: "Obviously it is disappointing to lose, but again we can take positives from the competitiveness we showed.
"All three games we have lost to date have earned us a bonus point and the results could have gone the other way.
"There's still a long way to go in this league, but our biggest test to date will come this weekend against Broughton Park."