Published: 16:00, 30 June 2011
| Updated: 16:12, 30 June 2011
Mike Melford has been appointed as the new 1st XV captain of Canterbury Rugby Club.
The 27-year-old former England Universities wing takes over from Chris Hinkins who, after being captain for the past seven seasons, becomes player-coach.
Following last season’s setback when Canterbury were relegated from National 2 South, Melford says he intends to lead from the front as the city club prepare for life in National League 3 London and South East.
With Andy Pratt having succeeded Danny Vaughan as head coach, Melford (pictured), who is already looking forward to his seventh season at Merton Lane, said: "With a new coach, a new captain and a number of new players, it’s a fresh start.
"I never thought we would get relegated last season but it happened and now we have got to put it behind us and move on.
"I think Andy (Pratt) was the logical choice as coach. He’s already got the trust of the players and they know what he’s about.
"Andy has already told the players that he is expecting a top-two finish next season to ensure that we either win automatic promotion back to National 2 South, or at least have a chance in the play-offs."
Melford added: "I intend to lead from the front and one thing I will be demanding is a high level of fitness from the players."
Melford will have flanker Peter Kelly, who is fitness coach to Kent County Cricket Club, as his vice-captain.
Their appointments complete a reorganisation of the playing set-up. Garry Furneaux has been confirmed as head of playing, with Scotland international Matt Stewart taking over as forwards’ coach and ex-Wales cap Matthew Robinson handed the strength and conditioning role.