LEEK RUFC is gearing up for the new season with the signing of new players and coaching staff to kick-start its 2018-19 campaigns at senior, colts and junior levels.
The ambitious club has welcomed former Leek player, Jack Newton-Taylor, back to Esterchem Park, Cheddleton, to strengthen the 1st XV line-up under captain Luke Hardern and vice-captains Ed Cheadle and Sam Hunt.
Winger, Newton-Taylor, moved into higher league rugby in 2015 and returns after a successful season as Longton 1st XV’s highest scorer.
Jack is expected to support the 1st XV’s ambition to press higher up the league table than last season’s third place finish, and go further in the Twickenham cup competition which saw them reach the Midlands semi-final earlier this year.
Leek 1st XV captain Luke Harden
The pre-season kicks off with two warm-up games – away to Sandbach RUFC tomorrow (August 25 -12 noon) and at home to Uttoxeter next Friday (August 31), followed by the first Midland Two West (North) game on Saturday, September 8, away to Veseyeans.
Meanwhile, the 2nd XV have moved up the ranks to play in the North West League under new captain, Andy Oultram, ensuring high quality matches for spectators each week at Esterchem Park.
With an eye on the future, the club’s up-and-coming Colts are also expected to hit the ground running with the appointment of a dedicated coach, Jack Jones, to support senior coaching team Lee Pickles, Chris Mudd and Neil Edge.
The appointment is part of the club’s highly-regarded development strategy to retain players beyond under-16 level to ensure their progression into senior squads.
This step means Leek RUFC has a seamless progression route right from six-year old junior level through to Colts, three adult squads and a competitive veterans’ team.
Director of Rugby Neil Edge said: “I am delighted with the recruitment of the two Jacks and a number of other signings for the coming season which will ensure high quality rugby is nurtured at every level.
“The commitment of very many coaches throughout our junior section means we are perfectly placed to build on their successes and create a strong pool of home-grown talent to be proud of.”
Off the pitch, major local employer, Esterchem, has shown its faith in the club’s development with the renewal of its main sponsorship status.
In addition, clubhouse renovations over the summer have enhanced the facilities as a great venue for private hire functions, while a number of fund-raising social events are planned for the coming months.
Leek RUFC is always keen to welcome new and returning rugby players to the club. Junior training is on Sunday mornings, while Colts and seniors train at Esterchem Park, Chestnut Walk, Cheddleton ST13 7BJ, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7pm.
Visit www.pitchero.com/clubs/leek for contact details of all age groups and teams, or the club’s Facebook page for forthcoming matches and social events.