The training ground remains a hive of activity as we continue our preparations for the start of the 2004/05 season.
On the playing front, we were delighted to announce yesterday the signing of Maama Molitika; a back row forward who was playing for the Celtic Warriors until the end of last season. Maama is a very physical ball carrier, who I am sure will make a big impression in the Zurich Premiership next season.
We still have two further signings to complete but, as ever, these will not be announced until once all the contract negotiations and the legal niceties have been completed.
The Zurich Premiership fixture list for the new season was announced on Monday and as you would expect there are some very difficult fixtures in the opening month:
Saturday 4th September Vs London Irish, Away (at Twickenham, kick-off 2.00pm)
Saturday 11th September Vs Northampton Saints, Home
Saturday 18th / Sunday 19th September Vs Newcastle Falcons, Away
Saturday 25th September Vs Bath Rugby, Home
We are still looking to confirm our final pre-season fixture for the weekend of 27th August and hope to have this finalised by this time next week.
On Friday I will be flying to Ulster to finalise details of our pre-season training camp, which will take place between 15th and 21st August, as well as ensuring that all the training facilities and accommodation are up to scratch, and at the same time getting to know the people who are organising our week in the province.
We are continuing to look at new technology to assist us in the presentation and interpretation of information that we provide the players, particularly in relation to opposition and referee analysis. This is an important area for us and therefore something that we are continually looking to improve upon.
Time is being spent looking at ways of improving our weight training facilities and also the condition of the training pitches here at Aldershot, which were a little worn by the end of the season. With respect to this, our own groundsman recently spent some time with the Sodexho staff to assist in the preparation of the training pitches.
A number of the squad have been popping into the training g ground doing weights and fitness sessions, as well as practicing some closed skills such as kicking, passing etc., while a number of the guys are on annual leave; no doubt enjoying the sun on a beach somewhere around the world.
Just a reminder that you can still purchase your season ticket for next season by ringing 0871 871 8877, but hurry because there are not many left!
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.