Recruitment drive and return of old boys key to progress by Brods

Old Brods chairman, Richard Turner.
Old Brods chairman, Richard Turner.

IT HAS been a busy year at Woodhead with numerous initiatives bearing fruit both on and off the field.

At the turn of the year, Old Brodleians were sat at the bottom of Yorkshire One following a poor run of form in early season.

However, confidence improved and the team rose steadily up the league in the second half of the season with some excellent performances both home and away.

They eventually rose to sixth in the league by the end of the season.

During the summer break, Brods’ recruiting drive bore fruit with several notable players returning to the club in the shape of experienced former captain Oliver Akroyd and Alex Dawson and James Marshall from Cleckheaton.

Callum Thompson had returned to Woodhead towards the end of the previous season and had been influential in the final push, so, with the arrival of another powerful prop in the shape of Josh Crishnay from Durban, South Africa, and young Reece Ward, who has risen through the youth team ranks, the Brods pack looked to be in a good place.

Other players returning to the fold included the uncompromising Scrimshaw brothers plus the versatile Dave Skinner.

Recruitment continued with the arrival of Jack Andrews, brother of fly-half Tom, and a more than useful back-row forward.

In September, their final signing arrived in the shape of durable Samoan Manu, who could play either in the back row or centre.

The Hipperholme-based side enjoyed a good start to the season with the demolition of local rivals Crossleyans by a record score of 54-14, and continued to accumulate points with convincing wins over North Ribblesdale (49pts) and Yarnbury (52pts).

October followed with disappointing defeats to Malton & Norton plus Bradford Salem as well as table-toppers Bradford & Bingley.

However, they rediscovered their form in the run-up to Christmas with more victories at York and at home to Heath, Selby and Bridlington. Now firmly sat in fifth position, the Brods coaching team of Smith and Monk are looking to kick on further.

The seconds have struggled following a tremendous season in 2014-15 and they have suffered from a long list of injuries.

The Beavers are topping their Merit table and are enjoying their rugby under new captain and former rugby league player of note Dean Wilson. On Sundays, the club are fielding colts sides at Under 19 and Under 17 level, as well as a very successful Under 16 side, so the future looks bright.

The development of girls rugby at the club has meant that the clubhouse needs further improvements to cater for the increased use of changing rooms and other facilities.

During the summer, improvements to the clubhouse were made with assistance from the RFU and have been well received.

Plans are with the RFU at present for extending the clubhouse to provide six additional state-of-the-art changing rooms together with a first-floor gym.