Most successful sides in any sport are the ones that contain the perfect blend of youth and experience, a fact that’s not gone unnoticed by Huddersfield Rugby Union Club’s new supremo Dan Hyde.
The Lockwood Park side already have a fair amount of youth coming through, thanks to their excellent junior set-up, and Hyde has pulled off a real coup with the recruitment of experienced full-back Ian Shuttleworth, who has played the game at a high level all his career.
Although now 35, Shuttleworth still has a great deal to offer, and proved that when he returned to Huddersfield’s ranks last Saturday and scored his maiden try for the club in the narrow defeat to Caldy.
He had previously missed the last four games after tearing a hamstring back in September, but his worth to the side was instantly obvious on his return, bringing an air of confidence at the back, while his silky running brought an added bonus and more pace to the three-quarters line.
Undoubtedly, his signing is going to prove to be a valuable asset this season, and made remarkable by the fact that he had actually retired from the game – and taken up golf!
“After playing National I rugby with Otley for 10 years, I decided it was time to retire 18 months ago and I took up the game of golf instead,” explained Shuttleworth.
“Then Dan (Hyde) who I knew after he came to Otley for a couple of seasons, said he was looking for someone to come over to Huddersfield to help out with the backs and persuaded me out of retirement.
“I was a bit hesitant about it at first, wondering how it would impact on my job – Ian is deputy head at Queens Elizabeth Grammar School – but it has worked out fine. The lads have really welcomed me to the club and I’m certainly enjoying it, especially now I’m back in action. I’m pleased to be at Huddersfield, a club that is obviously growing. Most of the team are home-grown players, and I think the lads have done really well to get into National 2 North.
“I thought we were a bit unlucky to lose last week against a team who are definitely one of the fancied teams in the League. But then our lads have a reputation for playing particularly well at home.
“We have a series of difficulty matches coming up, but our first priority has to be to stay in the division, consolidate and then aim at least for a mid-table finish. Certainly the future looks positive here and if everyone keeps level-headed, there is no reason why the club can’t continue to progress.”