A challenging year for Old Brodleians

Danny Vento in action, Old Brods v North Ribblesdale at Woodhead, Hipperholme
Danny Vento in action, Old Brods v North Ribblesdale at Woodhead, Hipperholme

Christmas and New Year marks the half way stage of the season for rugby union clubs and is a time for reviewing progress both on and off the field.

Old Brods faced numerous challenges following their relegation last season.

Northern v Brods''Callum Thompson

Northern v Brods''Callum Thompson

With a new coaching team in the shape of John Cole and Phil Gallagher the club has again looked to their superb youth set up and have tackled a period of rebuilding head on.

Several players, including Callum Thompson and Rob Jennings, have been approached by other clubs but have stuck with the side and have featured strongly in the first team so far.

The club has also welcomed back the abrasive Danny Vento, Matt Willis and for a time Andy Finn from Warrington Wolves, although the latter is now looking to continue his professional rugby league career with Featherstone Rovers.

Promising young players new to the first team include back rower Jonny Lodge, centre/full-back Phil Town and scrum half Dominic Georgiou.

These teenagers are a big part of the future of the club and are getting their experience in a good standard with many experienced campaigners in the opposition ranks.

Injuries have hit the club hard with another promising teenager, Eddie Carter, currently sidelined as well as captain Luke Scrimshaw amongst several others.

The outstanding Aaron Fowler was injured last week at North Ribblesdale and the club await news as to the extent of this influential player’s knee injury.

The second team, which is currently enjoying a winning run of four matches, will be looking to strengthen further, building around a hard core of regular players with further youth coming through the ranks.

The club has strengthened the management of the second team with Peter Rhodes, currently Under-16s coach, joining the senior management along with Mark Turner who was manager of last year’s successful Colts side.

This help was sorely needed for Neil Sheard has been managing the side as well as turning out for them on a regular basis.

The club caters for players at every level including the excellent social rugby side “ The Beavers” who are looking forward to their annual European tour in March.

Brods chairman Bruce Turner has been in talks with the RFU in the shape of Community Rugby Development Officer Hamish Pratt and Alex Bowden, RFU Area Facilities Manager, with a view to continuing further developments at the club.

Steelwork is now in place for the new stand at Woodhead and when the good weather returns the concrete terracing will be laid and the steel cladding completed.

The club have been well supported by local firms Pulman Steel and Marshalls, Halifax as well as several members who have used their skills for the benefit of the club. Full recognition will be given in a topping out ceremony in due course.

Further new developments will include a new storage area as part of the stand development and an improvement in the car parking. Chairman Bruce Turner has confirmed that the club will look forward to receiving £5,000 following the construction of a new junior field completed 12 months ago.

The club is looking to carry out further improvements in their clubhouse and is also looking at improving the boundary walling on the third team field.

The club has received the resignations of two leading officials in the shape of Steve and Carol Rooks.

Steve has been treasurer for almost 10 years and Carol has been subscription secretary for the same period.

Carol has raised thousands of pounds for the club over many years through her weekly raffles and both of these stalwarts will be greatly missed.

They have taken over the White Horse public house at Lightcliffe and the club wishes them well in their new venture.

This has meant that Brods have been recruiting new members for its finance committee which will be looking to increase fund raising through further sponsorship and fund raising events.