Rugby League: Mayfield look forward to the new season
Date published: 28 December 2019
With the rugby season looming and the draw having been made for the Coral Challenge Cup, Rochdale Mayfield Rugby League are back in training after the briefest of lay offs. Mayfield’s first Challenge Cup game will be played on the weekend 11/12 January at the Mayfield Sports Centre.
The Mayfield coaching team of Sam Butterworth and Steve Wood have got the lads back in and are running two sessions a week at the moment.
The Challenge cup draw has been somewhat favourable for the Rochdale side, having received a home draw against London Chargers from the Southern Conference league. Although playing at a lower level than Mayfield, Chargers are a quality side and will be no push overs, they have reached the divisional grand final every year since their formation and will be relishing the opportunity to come up north and show that the relatively untapped Southern RL is closing in on the Northeners when it comes to rugby league.
Mayfield on the other hand have taken a few more knocks on the personnel front after Rochdale Hornets once again raided the club to bolster their 2020 Championship one campaign.
Having last year signed Aidan Gleeson, Callum Marriott, Lewis Sheridan, Brandon Wood and Zac Baker to the already signed Seta Tala, they have moved in for Jimmy Connaughton, Luke Fowden and Dec Sheridan. This will undoubtedly cause more problems for Butterworth as he tries to mould a side to challenge in the NCL premier division.
Losing the players last year a massive challenge to the club but the coaches worked miracles in keeping the side in the premier division. The hope was that this season would see the side build and the youngsters gain in confidence, but it looks like being a struggle again for Butterworth and the club.
The club have the 'feelers' out for new and experienced players to bolster the two open age sides and would welcome any one who is interested in taking to the field for this great club. Although the loss of these players is again going to have a massive impact on Mayfield as a team in the NCL everybody at the club sincerely wishes them all the best and hope they go on to have successful pro careers.
Mayfield coaching staff and committee have had time to reflect on the season gone. Not for the club players now, but for the select few who have worked hard and earned themselves a chance to play pro rugby. Mayfield have a very proud record of producing players who have gone on and made the move into the paid ranks but there has never been a time quite like the present.
At the moment there is a fantastically impressive list of ex Mayfield pros. The most eye catching of these has to be the current super league players, Matty Lees and Jack Ashworth of St Helens along with Warringtons new signing Matty Ashton. These three have really set the game alight this past season with Lees being selected as the Super league young player of the year and Ashton the Championship top try scorer with 30 as well as the Championship young player of the year before he signed from Swinton.
Ashworth meanwhile has been named the fastest super league forward of 2019. Also, at Saints in the first team squad after just one season in the U19s is Nico Rizzelli while over at Wigan, Mayfields Ben Okeefe is making a name for himself in their U19s.
With the three new signings announced from Mayfield to Hornets, Luke Fowden, Jimmy Connaughton and Declan Sheridan along with the transfer of Callum Ogden from Doncaster, Hornets are now packed with ex Mayfield players, Callum Marriott, Lewis Sheridan, Seta Tala, Zac Baker are also there Aidan Gleeson has just been released.
Further afield Paul Brierley has just made the move to Halifax while Joe Taira remains at Batley, Matty Chrimes at Doncaster and Ben Heaton at Hunslet.
Closer to home Brandon Wood has moved to Swinton after impressing in his first season at Hornets, he joins Mike Ratu.
The message here seems to be loud and clear, if you want to give yourself a chance of playing professional rugby league Mayfield is the club to play at.
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