Wednesday, 02 December 2015

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Wath Brow chomping at bit to start new rugby season

Wath Brow Hornets coach Ian Rooney says his players cannot wait to get stuck into summer rugby – but added that they will not be taking this truncated season lightly.

The short National Conference League season, played in mini localised groups, begins this weekend with a mouth-watering tie against local rivals Egremont at Wath Brow, ko 2.30pm.

The season will run from Saturday through to the end of November before the league takes a break and comes back in its normal format for a full summer term, beginning in March.

“Summer rugby is eagerly anticipated,” admitted Rooney, “I was always a fan of moving to summer. Your player pool needs to come from the youth structures and they are already playing in summer and are accustomed to it.

“They would probably question why winter, it is just because we are used to it.

“But this shortened season is also a great opportunity for the club, we are going to treat it as a normal season, even though there are just 12 games.

“On the travelling side, it will be shorter as we play Egremont, Millom and Askam which is great.

“We will certainly treat it with respect and I don’t think it is any lower in value just because it is shorter. Every game we play, we will play to win.”

And Rooney says beginning against Egremont is a great start.

“Any game against Egremont creates a lot of local interest and both clubs will be looking forward to this,” he added.

“I think there will be some good opportunities for youngsters coming through to play at this kind of level, against Egremont, Leigh Miners and Thatto Heath.

“Then they will know what to expect when we hit the summer season.”

Brow will be without Mark Troughton, who is recovering after a shoulder operation while Craig Johnstone and Dave Currie have took a back seat from the first team.

Ryan Campbell has returned to his amateur roots to ply his trade while Rooney is hoping that some of the under-16s from last year will come through, along with the likes of Scott Pink, Karl Dixon and the Huby brothers.

Rooney will once again coach the first team with Ian Rudd but Paul Taylor has left the club and physio Tom Graffin has also decided to call it a day.

Rooney added: “These two will be sorely missed at the club and will be very hard to replace.”

Egremont Rangers are hoping that this season will allow some of their younger players to shine through.

They will have a new assistant coach on board in the form of Mally Caton, who will be second in command to John Brocklebank.

Caton will also continue to play and Mark Cottam has switched codes from rugby union to try his hand at league.

Brocklebank says this is a real chance for the youngsters, saying: “I expect Lewis Beckwith to play a bigger part this season, he was one of our under-18s last year.

“And Leon Crellin is another. He is a second rower/centre but he had a learning years on the wing last season but he will have a bigger part to play this year.”

Brocklebank, who thanked Wath Brow for allowing them to switch the game to their newly improved pitch, is looking forward to Saturday’s match and says that being able to play against their fellow NCL Cumbrian sides is a great opportunity.




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