Friday 15th May would have been the end of season presentation evening so U15’s agreed to stick to the date and have our own virtual awards evening, this enabled us to get the boys together, have a recap of our season, some highs and some lows but most importantly acknowledge those players that were voted for in our 3 categories, pay thanks to all those that make a difference and draw a close to the 2019-20 season and look forward to the 2020-21 season..
With just 20 players left on our books we have had some challenges not only raising a full 15 players to compete but having the experience and skill within the squad to enable players to confidently play in any position on match days. All our players have played in 3 or more positions throughout this season and always manage to give a 100% towards the team performance.
Not deterred by our numbers and lack of regular players in key positions we were determined to compete at the highest level and this meant games across the border against Chester, Lancashire cup champions, York, Wetherby, Old Brods, Morley and Old Rish, all teams at the top of the Yorkshire pecking order and despite the floods and waterlogged pitches we managed 6 wins from 14 games.
Highlights of the season were not always the wins, the losses also bring with them inspirational moments and stand out performances, they encourage the boys to stand together when their backs are against the wall and develop a never give up attitude, often playing against teams with 25 – 30 players the opposition always knew they had a game on their hands. Our second game of the season was Yorkshire Cup week and we had a good chance against our original opposition, unfortunately the powers that be had to bend the rules again and have another two draws to ensure that the big Teams had an easier path through the rounds so we got drawn against last years champions York, away. it was always going to be hard to stomach but we got on with it, unfortunately we lost 36 – 8 but the result did flatter the opposition and our boys came away disappointed that they had not stuck at it and York were a beatable team.
Not to be deterred by the Cup draw or the defeat it spurred the boys on and they continued to work very hard during weekly training sessions and our development continued throughout the season and we got better and better. Second round of the YC bowl was Aireborough/Baildon away and following a win against Old Rish we were up for it and came away the victors 40 – 7. Many highlights from the game but compliments from the opposition coaches about how organised and disciplined we were is always something to take away.
Next round Selby at home but this had to be rescheduled at their ground due to unplayable pitches our end and traveling with only 17 players we knew it was going to be a big ask. Having played with and watched the Senior teams at Huddersfield one thing that you can count on is a big performance from every player when it is needed and that is exactly what our lads provided. The mentality of the players was changing and they started to believe in what was being coached and what they had to do as a team to win and we came away 25 – 12 victors, even down to 14 men in the last quarter we refused to give in and our defence was relentless, something that we have worked hard on all season.
YC shenanigans, tantrums and bending of the rules meant that the semi-finals wouldn’t get played for another 3 months but thanks to the hard work of our Team Management and Tracy Davis our Age Grade Chair were able to ensure that what was to be our last rugby game of the season would go ahead on Pitch 1, 15th March 2020. We started this journey 3 seasons ago and I believe that we just about reached our best that day to beat Scarborough in the YC Bowl semi-final 51 -7 in front of a sizeable crowd at Lockwood Park. Memories are made on days like those and thanks to the Club for making it special and supporting the junior players – Changing room 1 with team shirts pegged out 1 hour before kick-off, music to get you fired up, warm up behind the posts Pitch 1 and then to come out onto the Field of Dreams to the applause of your home fans… Priceless! Our biggest challenge next season will be to continue that momentum of missing out on some Silverware, encourage more players down to the club and strengthen our team in some key positions, continue to work hard on fitness but most importantly take away some more great memories.
Endeavour award goes to the player that worked hardest to better themselves through improving personal fitness, having a great attitude at training, improve their own skillset and contribution during game time – this year goes to Alex Broadhead
Something different this year Supporters award – 8 players received nomination which I think shows our strength within the squad, runner up missing out by 1 vote was Charlie Otter who has worked very hard this season playing in a new front row position – joint winners this year goes to our two new additions to the team Harry Elvidge and Stephen Smart. A keen sportsman Harry decided to give rugby a go this season and made an impact from day 1 receiving MOM and best Tackle award on our first game away to Chester, Stephen fancied a change from Rugby League and although it has been a challenge (especially around the ruck and when on the floor with the ball) he also made an impact becoming our leading front row try scorer – both lads are a menace with ball in hand and I look forward to watching their careers progress.
Players player award, all the lads voted – 6 players received nomination – runners up missing out by 1 vote were Charlie Otter and Archie Stancliffe well done to both – winner this year goes to Stephen Smart, great attitude both on and off the field, special congratulation getting accepted onto the ERDPP training programme this season.
Thanks to our Team Captains Archie Stancliffe, Maxwell Shelton and Stephen Smart – you have all had valued input at training and team selection but most importantly the big games belong to you and your leadership within the squad well done.
Looking forward to seeing you all for pre-season training this summer.