As we enter the season of Spring, we also enter a new season for our county’s most beloved sport, rugby league.
Our three 3 professional teams, Whitehaven, Workington, and Barrow are all already 3 games into their new campaign.
And we still have our amateur teams waiting to set off on what hopefully will be a fantastic season, with two Cumbrian teams vying for the title of the top amateur side in English.
The team we’re focusing on today however, Wath Brow Hornets, unfortunately, does not hold said title heading into the season.
Based in Cleator Moor, with a ground overlooking the forests of Dent Hill, the team fell short last season in a heart-breaking 18-10 to Thatto Heath.
But there’s a new aura around the club, even after losing top player Curtis Teare, who made the step up to join Workington Town.
This year, the club has progressed off the pitch, building a brand new training barn for the usage of the adult and youth sides.
This has been huge for the side in the run-up to their first game on March 5th at home against Lock Lane.
They have also utilized the great facilities at Cleator Moor AstroTurf and the Wath Brow Gym, which will stand them in great stead heading into the new season as one of the favourites on paper.
I was lucky enough to speak to current Wath Brow centre and definite future legend, Fran King, about his predictions for the season ahead and how he has found pre-season:
How has pre-season been this year?
Pre-season has been good. Believe it or not, quite a few of the lads (I won’t say all haha) like the fitness side of things at this time of the year.
The downside is the typical Cumbrian weather but we’ve been fortunate this pre-season to be using our new training barn and the new 3G field at Cleator Moor.
Has the squad been able to carry through the same passion and momentum as last season?
Yeah, I believe so, last season was a strange one mainly due to it being a stop-start year because of COVID. There were times we could go 3-4 week without a game and you never knew if a game would be on week by week.
That said it was just good to get back playing and we made the most of the season by winning the Cumbrian conference league but unfortunately, we came up just short in the NCL Grand Final.
Losing the final will hopefully give us that passion as you say to go one better this year.
And what are your predictions for this season?
This is a difficult one as we haven’t played a lot of these teams for 2-3 years due to the COVID disruption and in recent weeks we’ve seen a couple of NCL sides beat professional sides in the Challenge Cup, so it shows how competitive our league will be.
I’m hopeful we will be up there competing with the best teams in the country so fingers crossed we give a good account of ourselves!
I also spoke to scrum-half Daniel Burns, who said: “pre-season has been tough this year but I think we’re seeing the benefit of it as we’re probably the fittest we’ve ever been.
It’s hard to predict anything as we haven’t played against some of these teams for over 2 years but I’m most looking forward to seeing Gregory Howland back playing.”
Always nice to see the light-hearted and kind nature of the rugby lads, and we wish them the best of luck for the forthcoming season.
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