`

Connor wants Ovenden to ‘beat best’

Jake Connor.'Salford City Devils v Hull FC.  BetFred Super League. AJ Bell Stadium.  9 June 2017.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Jake Connor.'Salford City Devils v Hull FC. BetFred Super League. AJ Bell Stadium. 9 June 2017. Picture Bruce Rollinson

OVENDEN start their Pennine League Championship title defence with a trip to play Upton on Saturday.

Jake Connor’s Four Fields side will be keen to hit the ground running after a stellar 2017-18 campaign.

They were not only champions but won the Pennine President’s Cup and rounded things off with a 58-10 eclipse of Greetland AR in the Halifax Challenge Cup final at Siddal in May.

Hull FC and England ace Connor, who was brought up in Ovenden, has high hopes for another successful campaign.

Back rower Luke Dennis has returned after university and half-back Anthony Irvine and forward Andrew Brocklehurst have come out of retirement.

Centres Jason Dodd and Luke O’Mara have left but Connor has no worries about filling the gaps in midfield with players returning from injury.

Connor said Ovenden would not be content just to be the area’s top winter amateur side.

They were keen to win the Yorkshire Cup and National Cup after going a long way in both of those competitions last season. Ovenden lost to Lock Lane in the county cup final and were beaten by West Hull, a leading Conference side during the summer, in the semi-finals of the National Cup.

“We want to beat the best and we have a few more experienced players to help us do that,” said Connor, who is set to play at Wigan on Friday as Hull try to snap a losing run.

Connor said Upton were a tough side and Ovenden would have to “meet fire with fire.”

The Pontefract side have already played twice, losing 19-16 to Doncaster Toll Bar before winning 30-12 at Stanley Rangers.

However, Connor is not worried that Ovenden may lack match sharpness. He said his players had prepared well and had faced a team of experienced former Ovenden players in a good pre-season run-out.

Tomorrow - Championship: Doncaster Toll Bar v Stanley Rangers, Queens v Sharlston Rovers, Upton v Ovenden.

Division One: Clayton v Ossett Trinity, East Leeds v Woodhouse Warriors, Greetland All Rounders v Drighlington.

Division Two: Kinsley Hotel Raiders v Illingworth, Methley Warriors v Eastmoor Dragons, Dearne Valley Bulldogs v Crigglestone All Blacks.

Division Three: Sherburn Bears v King Cross Park, Moldgreen v Sheffield Hillsborough Hawks, West Leeds v Beeston Broncos, Hollinwood v Wortley Dragons, Cowling Harlequins v Seacroft Sharks WMC.

Results - Championship: Doncaster Toll Bar 6 Three Tuns 0 (abandoned 17 mins, serious player injury), Stanley Rangers 12 Upton 30.

Division One: Ossett Trinity 60 Moorends Thorne Marauders 4, Drighlington 32 Hunslet Warriors 22, Greetland All Rounders 22 East Leeds 36.

Division Two: Methley Warriors 12 Kinsley Hotel Raiders 14, Illingworth 30 Dearne Valley Bulldogs 6, Crigglestone All Blacks 72 Worth Village 10.

Division Three: Sherburn Bears 16 Moldgreen 36, Sheffield Hillsborough Hawks v Hollinwood P, Beeston Broncos v Cowling Harlequins P, Wortley Dragons 18 Seacroft 52.