ROCHFORD Hundred’s director of rugby Michael Guess feels the double signing of Mark Billings and Nik Grier signals his side’s intention for next season.

The duo have both moved to Magnolia Road from Southend Saxons.

And Guess is delighted to have them on board.

“Mark and Nik are both quality players with plenty of experience and bringing them in is a real message of intent from us,” said Guess.

“Mark was captain of Southend last season, he had been there 11 years and he’s also played for England Counties so he will bring in real quality.

“He’s also going to be the assistant coach as well as the backs coach, which is great for us, along with Nik’s arrival, too.

“He’s played for Blackheath and can play as hooker or in the back row so he will be an important player for us.

“They’ll both fit in well with the group we have in place and we’re hopeful of bringing in more quality players before next season gets under way as well.”

Guess – who himself lined up for Southend in his own playing career – took over the reins at Rochford before the start of the season and guided them to a fifth-place finish.

But having learned a number of lessons in his first main coaching role, Guess is aiming for far higher next season.

“We want to push on and, just like any team, we want to be going for promotion,” said Guess.

“I enjoyed my first season in charge but it did take a little bit of time to implement what I wanted.

“My main ethos is that the lads all enjoy what they’re doing otherwise there’s no point in us all turning up.

“We improved as the season progressed before we picked up one or two injuries in the last couple of weeks.

“But it was an encouraging season and it’s certainly given us a real platform to build on.

“We also have a lot of good young players here who we need to keep on developing because they are the future of the club.”

With that in mind, Guess is planning to help put on coaching sessions to also help the club’s other coaches to improve.

And he is keen for the club to keep on moving forward.

“I think it’s an exciting time for the club coming up both on and off the pitch,” said Guess, who is also keen on bringing scrum half Ricki Gould back on loan from Southend.

“I have a lot of really good people around me doing great things at the club but I do still have the urge to play.

“It’s difficult to combine it with the coaching but maybe I’ll be able to have a couple of games next season with the extra support I now have.”