Wath Brow Hornets first up for Siddal as National Conference Premier Division season kicks off

Peter Howard scores for Siddal against Blackbrook last weekend. PIC: Bruce Fitzgerald.
Peter Howard scores for Siddal against Blackbrook last weekend. PIC: Bruce Fitzgerald.

Siddal open their National Conference season when they host Wath Brow Hornets at Chevinedge on Saturday (2.30).

The Cumbrians are traditionally another of the amateur game’s big hitters and Siddal coach Gareth English - who again takes joint charge with Darren Phillips - is expecting a significant test.

“They’re always strong, so it will be a good indicator of where we’re at as a team,” said English.

“We’ve had a couple of decent wins in the Challenge Cup and we’re looking forward to getting going in the league now.

“We’ve set the players the challenge of improving on last season, when we finished seventh, so that means a minimum target of being in the play offs.

“All our young players are a year older and more experienced so we’re confident that’s a realistic goal.”

Siddal will be boosted by the return of centre or wing Ben West, who has rejoined the club from Championship side Oldham.

And English picked out young half back Christian Ackroyd, a former Wakefield junior who has been linked with Halifax, and centre Henry Turner as two more players to watch.

“Ben came back this week and he’s a bonus for us,” said English. “I’ve been impressed with Christian and Henry.”

Meanwhile,