After a disappointing campaign resulted in relegation from Yorkshire Four, Knaresborough RUFC head coach Adam Pike admits towards the end of last season wasn’t the best time for the club.
Pike, however, has pinpointed three areas of focus that he hopes can recapture his team’s love for the sport and contribute towards a successful season.
He said: “Towards the latter end of the season the enjoyment had gone, and if the enjoyment is gone then the performances go with it.
“Over summer we have focused on three main areas: enjoyment, teamwork and performance.
“We want to be enjoying everything we are doing whether it’s training or playing.
“Everything we have done this pre-season has been geared towards teamwork and working for one another.
“We have 16 fixtures this year and we want every single one to be like a cup final. If not, we will find ourselves in the same boat as last season.”
It has been a busy off-season for Pike who has made a number of additions to his squad, including the return of some familiar faces.
The Knaresborough manager is still on the look out for new talent, however, with a World Cup on the horizon and interest in the sport set to peak.
He said: “We’ve brought in a few new guys and had some older faces returning from long injuries.
“There is a lack of young lads, and the RFU are constantly trying to get more young players involved.
“With it being a World Cup year, if anyone is interested in giving rugby union a try then come and have a go, regardless of ability.
“We’ve brought in Gavin Hodgson at full back, he has ridiculous wheels on him and is a consistent runner.
“Kieran Stafford has also joined at Centre and is ex-Huddersfield Giants, while Tim Evans has come from the British bodybuilding championships to now focus on his rugby.
“We have given the vice captain position to Matt Ions this year.
“He has developed so well since coming down from Essex and is a workhorse in that second row.” A season in Yorkshire Five awaits Pike and his squad and the Knaresborough boss is expecting a tough campaign.
He said: “Hornsea came down with us and will be very good. Garforth and Thirsk will also be very strong.
“Yorkshire Five will have a lot of dogs with their back to the wall situations, so we’re not looking at one particular team and will treat every game the same.”