Battling Bowral believe blue days are behind them

ILLAWARRA RUGBY 

Bowral fullback Andrew Stroud believes the club is finally heading in the right direction.

The Blacks have taken their lumps over the past few years, finishing at the bottom of the ladder or failing to even field a first grade side.

They aren't out of danger yet, but signs are emerging that Bowral's worst days are behind them.

Last week the Blacks almost knocked off Vikings on the road, playing with a toughness that hasn't been seen too often in the last five years.

They get an opportunity to show their form wasn't a flash in the pan when they host the Woonona Shamrocks on Saturday.

"We're well matched with Shamrocks and we always seem to have good battles with them. Even in the lean years we've competed well with them," Stroud said.

"The feeling was very positive after last week's game, the talk and the attitude was all good. It was almost celebrated like a win, especially when you've been where we have the last few years.

"This weekend is an opportunity for us to prove that last week wasn't just a one-off, that we are more competitive and capable of beating teams this year.

"Being competitive is fantastic, but now there's a feeling that we can actually win a few games."

After struggling for numbers in recent years, the Blacks haven't experienced the same problem this season. "We're looking a lot better. We've got a lot more players and a heap of Colts players," Stroud said.

"Myself and some of the older blokes have been in there among the tough times, just holding the club together.

"We've always had strong juniors over the past few years, over 200 juniors each year, and this is the first bunch that are coming through into Colts and seniors. It does look really promising."

Premiers Camden hope to bounce back from last week's loss to Kiama when they host University.

"Kiama are a semi-final team," Camden coach Brendan Schoupp said.

"They're much improved and they'll definitely rattle some cages this year.

"We're certainly not taking anything for granted because Uni are a very good team."

Kiama are at home to Shoalhaven and Tech Waratahs meet Vikings at Saunders Oval.

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