We are pleased to introduce our Outlaws First XV Team joint Vice Captain for the 2019/20 season: Kev Stokes.
We asked Kev what made him put himself forward for the Vice Captain position, to lead the team to victory along with Dave Maule.
Read the full interview below...
Outlaws Six Shots
Time at Club – 1 Year
Catch Phrase – “INCOHERENT VIKING-LIKE SCREAM”
Reason for Joining Outlaws - My good friend, Scott Mills, convinced me to come down.
Impression at First Training Session - I never once felt like I had just joined a new club, it was incredible!
Vision for Team’s Future – My long term vision is to nurture the thriving talent that we have around the club, and make sure that the Outlaws stay competitive in the Merit League.
My short term vision is to be Birmingham 2021 Champions!
Biggest Impact Another Player Has Had on You – Just one player? This is one of the hardest questions I've had to answer. The list is just too long, but if I have to choose I would choose Tony Collier. I often feel like I don't have many seasons left in me, but to see Tony take the field and give 100% in every game is truly inspiring to me.
What does being a Captain mean to you?
First and foremost, it is a huge honour.
To have the support of so many members after only being at the club for a season is mind-blowing.
What was your first ever training session like?
I'd been at my previous club since I was about 16 years old. Scott had tried to convince me to join the Outlaws the year before (I should have listened to him!).
I actually played a game for the Outlaws before my first training session. That drive to Leicester to face DMU was incredibly daunting, countless times I thought it would be best just to turn around and head home. The anxiety monster reared it's ugly head. "Would they like me", "What has Scott told them?", "Will I be a huge disappointment?", "Will I be able to find the venue?", "Do I have enough petrol?", "What if I get injured and can't drive home?" etc.
Most games you'll find my partner and parents on the sideline, however I kept this game secret as I didn't want anybody to see me make a fool out of myself.
I don't really know why I continued the journey to be honest. But I’m glad I did. I then played one of the hardest oppositions that I have ever faced. It was brutal, but at the end of the game every single Outlaw was still smiling.
Fast forward to now. This is the most fun I’ve had playing rugby since I left University. I'd almost forgotten what it felt like, I owe the Outlaws everything for giving me back the love for the sport.
So why do you want to be captain?
Being Vice-Captain is my way to repay every member of the Outlaws. Each member has had an impact on my life and helped me a lot more than they realise.
For me being Vice-Captain means I can lead by example. I have made a promise to myself and the team that I will take them into the Merit League and make us a force to be reckoned with.
This crazy bunch voted me player of the year (still hasn't quite sunk in) and now I need to earn that title!
What happens now?
Now, We take over the world!
My aim this year is to support Captain Dave Maule to the best of my abilities. Whether that's on the pitch of off. I fully support his vision.
My aims are:
1. Develop our training sessions. Hopefully I have some knowledge tucked away in the grey matter that I can share with the less experienced. This begins at training, I want to help give the players the confidence to go into a match situation, play well and enjoy themselves.
2. We retain our crown as the IGR Southern League champions. I have yet to be in a losing IGR match. This isn't about to change.
I hope to see more development players take the field this season as well and the IGR is a great league to do this in. With Simon Law and Scott Raven leading the development players this season, our future looks very very promising.
3. Be competitive in the Estrella Damm Merit League.
I have had quite a bit of experience in this league with my previous club. This isn't going to be a walk in the park. It will be challenging. But that's how we better ourselves. We should all want to play at the highest level possible so that we can continue to get stronger and stronger as a family. Being successful in the Merit league is credit to every single person that has worn an Outlaws shirt since it's foundation. We fully deserve to be in this league, now we just need to show the other teams. I've said it before, and no doubt I’ll say it again. I want the other teams to fear coming to our home turf.
I can honestly say I haven't been this excited about a rugby season in forever! We are making history! How can you not be pumped up!