A little while ago I highlighted the plight of Manchester RUFC this season, who were taking a fearful hammering every week in National Division 1, conceding well in excess of 100 points on three occasions in September.
What is unusual is that the cash-strapped club took the somewhat unique decision in mid-October to appoint a woman, former conditioning coach Elaine Vassie, as head coach.
I'd like to say that results have improved and, to the extent that there have been no further 100 point thrashings administered (although Otley, Cinderford, London Scottish, Stourbridge and Tynedale have all come within 1 try of doing so) they have. No victories as yet (or even close) but the scorelines are coming down with "only" an average of 85 points conceded in their last 7 games (it may not sound like much of an improvement but the average for the previous 7 games was 105 points, so an improvement of 20 points per game is a fairly dramatic result).
The circumstances in which Vassie is expected to work are a little challenging to say the least, only 4 of last season's squad having been retained in the wake of severe budget cuts following last season's relegation. So, almost certainly dead certs for another relegation but the players appear to be behind her and you have to admire her guts in even taking on the role.
Well done Elaine - and good luck for the rest of the season.