New-look Huddersfield RU begin their 2018-19 National 2 North campaign at home to Sedgley Park on Saturday, looking to continue the good momentum from their sixth placed finish last season.
The summer for Field has been full of upheaval as Head Coach Gareth Lewis has got to work on his squad, making additions and replacements for the departures from the club.
Key departing names from last season’s team include retiring Joel Hinchcliffe at Scrum half, and locks Adam Malthouse and Austen Thompson went to Otley and Sandal respectively.
However, Lewis has shaped a new team that intend to “enjoy the journey” that will be the 2018/19 season.
“Everyone is excited for the season to begin” says Lewis.
“It looks an incredibly tough competition once again with some tough battles against the midland sides, strong teams from the north west and some brutal Yorkshire derbies. Year on year the league seems to get stronger and this is the case once again.”
As tough battles go in this league, Sedgley will be as tough as they come. Saturday’s visitors ran eventual champions Sale very close last campaign, before losing a promotion playoff to National 2 South’s Chinnor 30-41.
Sedgley are truly one of the stalwarts at the top of this division, achieving top four finishes for the past 5 seasons, so they make for dangerous opposition if you catch them on a good day.
Lewis shares that sentiment, but also looks forward to taking them on.
“Sedgley Park are an outstanding team, well coached and play an attacking brand of rugby. If you let them play they can cause real problems.
He adds “However, we intend to give it a real go and must make Lockwood Park a tough place to come once again. There is huge excitement within the squad.”
The new season sees Fylde and Hull Ionians drop into the league following relegation from National 1, while the promoted sides are Preston and Peterborough, who make the step up.
So, Gareth Lewis’ first team of the season sees seven new names from the end of last season.
Tom Hodson, James Davies, Kian Stewart and Jack Maplesden come into the backs, while Harry Whitfield, Matt Dunn, and Liam Parfitt join the forwards shake up.
Dickie Piper takes over the captaincy for this season, while Lewis Bradley becomes Vice-captain.
On the upcoming season, Lewis rounds off that “from experience there will be highs and lows but we intend to enjoy the journey once again and everyone within the club need to play their part.”
Tom Hodson, Elliot Knight, Lewis Workman, James Davies, Kian Stewart, Will Milner, Jack Maplesden; Alex Battye, Fran Entressengle, Harry Whitfield, Matt Dunn, Nick Sharpe, Lewis Bradley, Liam Parfitt, Dickie Piper (C)
Replacements: Adam Blades, Mark Chivers, Bob Sykes, Joe Green, Mark Pease
Brandon Reeves – Huddersfield Examiner Corespondent