Rishworthians go into the new season ready to ruffle feathers in Yorkshire One.
While it is the highest level of league rugby they have played at, head coach Chris Stone is confident his squad can more than hold their own.
“We have strengthened the pack and covered for the players we are losing from the backs,” he said.
Rishworthians have gained two players from Huddersfield, prop Harry Whitfield and wing or fullback Ollie Scrimshaw. In addition the new season will see the return of Chris Dyson after spells with Otley and Halifax RLFC.
Player-coach Stone hopes there will be other signings, but also recognises that the strength of Rishworthians’ junior set-up will also provide a number of players.
Last season the first team used almost 40 players with around 30 of them having come through the club’s junior ranks.
“We will be looking to sustain and maintain our position in Yorkshire One and the success so far shows how far the club has come with a lot of other clubs envious of our thriving junior set-up,” said Stone.
Rishworthians open their season with two derbies, first a home game against Old Brodleians and then a trip to Heath.
To prepare for the season Stone will take his team to play in a three-way competition with Glossop and Oldham on August 12 and a week later travel to West Park St Helens.
“Yorkshire One is an unknown to us, so we are deliberately going to these clubs pre-season to get our players used to the unknown,” said Stone, whose side finished as runners-up to Moortown in Yorkshire Two last season.
He and assistant coach Tom Andrews have been working hard to prepare the team and hope to call upon England fly half George Ford from time to time during the season to add the icing to the coaching cake.
Ford has been at the Copley club recently conducting a summer coaching camp, to the delight of young players.
Elliot Mercer will captain Halifax in Yorkshire Four this season. He takes over from Glen Warne.
The Ovenden Park men have pre-season friendlies arranged against Old Crossleyans on August 12 and Heath on Thursday, August 24.