West Yorkshire League: Tricky curtain-raiser for Ripon City new man Hogg

Ripon and Boroughbridge start their West Yorkshire League season on Saturday
Ripon and Boroughbridge start their West Yorkshire League season on Saturday

Ripon City manager Alistair Hogg is preparing to take charge of his first match in the West Yorkshire Premier division - and said he is excited for the challenge.

The former goalkeeper took over the reins at Mallorie Park from club legend Charlie Brown who stepped down after leading City to a seventh place finish last campaign.

Ripon face a tricky opening day fixture away at Beeston St Anthony’s on Saturday, but Hogg is relishing the start after a positive pre-season.

He said: “It’s going to be a new challenge for me, taking charge of a team for the first time but we’ve had a good pre-season winning one, drawing two and losing once.

“We have to face Beeston in the opening fixture and that’s definitely going to be tough.

“But we have to go there at some time in the season.

“Don’t get me wrong though, I’m excited to pit my wits against some of the best managers in the league with Daz Ekin being one of the best.”

Hogg played under Ekin during his playing career, which spanned more than 20 years at Bridge before making the switch across the A1.

However, Hogg said he is looking forward to facing his old manager from the sidelines and will be sharing a drink with him after their encounter, no matter what the score.

Hogg watched his side finish in a comfortable mid-table position as Brown’s right-hand man last season. Be he but said his man priority this year was avoiding relegation.

He said: “We’re hoping for a similar season to last year but the target really is to avoid finishing at the bottom of the league.

“I’m confident with the lads that we’ve got this season that we can play and if a cup comes along then it comes along and we’ll see how that goes.”

Hogg’s former side Boroughbride also start their new campaign in the Premier Division on Saturday, travelling to Field.

Ekin’s men have been handed a particularly tough start to the campaign, facing all four of last season’s top four finishers in the opening four games.

After facing Field, Ekin’s men face a Wednesday evening trip to defending champions Bardsey and then entertain Beeston in their home opener.

This campaign will be the 24th season Ekin has led the side after guiding them to an eighth place finish last season - one place behind Ripon.

Boroughbridge’s chairman, Andrew Willey, issued a defiant statement before the season started, saying: “We will do our talking on the pitch and not in the newspapers.”