Resurgent Ripon Rugby Club kick off their Yorkshire Two season this Saturday, believing that their troubles are largely behind them.
Ripon required a reprieve at the end of last season to stay in the second tier but first team manager Bob Champion believes the side are better placed to survive the drop this year. The club has been boosted by new head coach Ian Hassell’s recruitment of more than 15 players, including several of the club’s Under 17 team from last season.
A sponsorship agreement will also see the club welcome three South African players in September.
Champion said: “The hope is not to end up bottom of the league as we did last year.
“We are not predicting top four, or going for the play-offs but we now have an approach that allows us to consistently achieve the best of our abilities.”
Champion believes Hassell’s arrival has settled the club.
He said: “He has brought a wealth of experience of coaching.
“The main difference is an inclusive approach and a commitment to engage with the players.
Ripon start against Yorkshire One side Pontefract at home on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) in the opening round of the Yorkshire Shield.
Ripon team: Newcombe (Captain); Coyne J-P; Sadler; Barker; Champion W; Britton; Findlay; Cassidy; Graham; Stirk; Duffield; Davey; Newby; Harrison; Bell. Subs: Wolloms; McDermott; Findlay; McAra.