Rishies up for new test

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Old Rishworthians begin life in Yorkshire Two tomorrow with a home clash against last season’s surprise package Sheffield Medicals.

Damian Ball’s side romped to the Yorkshire Three title in supremely dominant fashion in the spring, with the former rugby league professional now hoping to take a leaf out of the South Yorkshire side’s book.

“They went up from Yorkshire Three a year ago, then pushed on and ended up finishing fourth in Yorkshire Two,” said Ball.

“They’re obviously a pretty decent side and it would nice to think that we can go on and have a similar impact on the division this year as they did last season.

“It’s going to be a learning curve for us, but I think a mid-table finish is the minimum that we should expect from ourselves.”

Rishies, who have lost key flanker Chris Dyson to National Three side Otley, have signed the former Halifax and Castleford rugby league prop Frank Watene, although the affable Kiwi will not be available for tomorrow’s fixture.

“We’re going to be a bit stretched for the first couple of games because of players being unavailable,” said Ball, who is likely to figure in his own selections, at least initially.

“Frank will give us some size and presence, which we were probably short of, although he’s got work commitments which might mean he misses the odd game.”

An arguably more significant addition has been made behind the scenes, with the former Heath and Cleckheaton hooker Dave Harrison, a level three RFU coach, now advising the club’s coaching staff.

“Dave’s come to us on a bit of a consultancy basis, helping to support our forwards coaches,” said Ball.

“It’s about having someone on board who has the technical knowledge that I don’t.

“I want to improve as a coach and I want the team to improve as well.

“I spoke with Dave for about 15 minutes after training this week and I think I learned more in that time about line out and scrum coaching than I did in the whole of last season.

“Having him on board is a bit of a coup for us.”