Speed merchant Elliot Hodgson says Huddersfield Rugby Union Club intend to stay in the fast lane in 2017.
The 26-year-old heating engineer has contributed 21 tries to the Lockwood Park side’s unbeaten season so far and hopes to melt plenty more National III North defences in the matches to come.
His driving force is to help Gareth Lewis’s side regain National II status at the first attempt – and he feels everyone is pulling together and in the right direction to make that a reality.
“It’s been fantastic and we couldn’t have asked for better in the first half of the season,” said former Huddersfield Giants back Hodgson, from Halifax.
“The whole season has been really enjoyable and I think the difference this year is that we are all showing we want to play for each other and we all want to win.
“Each opposition that comes up we want to go and beat them, and especially after the season we had last year, when we got demoted and trampled on all year.
“When you get into that sort of run it’s not much fun, so we owe it to the coaches, the supporters and to everyone who works so hard at the club to get a good season together this year.”
If the first few months are anything to go by, Hodgson and Co are not going to disappoint.
They have piled up 672 points en route to a 10-point lead over Rossendale in the standings and also reached the third round of the Yorkshire Cup, where they will meet Otley of the division above towards the end of next month.
“Rossendale was the best match and the best performance by far,” said Hodgson of the 22-5 victory over their nearest rivals at Lockwood Park.
“That was the game we wanted to win more than any other, and when we get back in the New Year we’ve got Billingham away which will be another bit test, because they are not a bad side at all.
“It will be a true test, but we are ready for it.
“Otley will be another challenge for us as well, because it’s National II against National III, but it will be a good measure to see where we are next year.”
Hodgson believes the Field squad put together by Lewis is stronger than at this same stage as year ago, when they were struggling in the higher league.
“A lot of new players were thrown at it last year in difficult circumstances and it’s taken a year for everyone to get used to it.
“Now, we are all singing from the same hymn sheet and it’s all a lot more enjoyable – we are definitely stronger than last year.
“There’s always a great atmosphere when you are winning games, but it’s been great at the club so far this season.”
Hodgson has scored some superb tries this season, including a spectacular score against Kendal in the last match which has been entered - along with Lewis Workman’s effort against Rossendale - in the England RU Try of the Month competition for December.
“I think it’s one of the best tries I’ve ever score,” said Hodgson.
“I just kept on going and kept on stepping and it just opened up for me. I just thought ‘wow’ I’m going to score here, how did that happen?
“Tom Owen says it’s already had something like 9,000 views on Facebook. I’m new to Facebook and didn’t really know what that meant, but it’s a lot apparently. I must confess I’ve watched it a few times myself!”
Hodgson is thrilled how the forwards and backs are gelling in a true team effort.
“The forwards have been outstanding really and they’ve laid down the platform for us to do what we have to do,” he said.
“I think they’ve done that pretty much every game and, fortunately, on the off day they had the backs were on form and we won again.
“For me, the points against column tells the story of how we are all playing together. We’ve generally been as safe as houses and our defence has been awesome.
“The aim now is to see it through and get ourselves promoted, while it would be good to carry on the Cup run as well with the way we are playing.
“We could even win it, you never know. There are some good sides in there like Hull Ionions and Wharfedale who might have something to say about that, but it’s certainly all to play for and it will be nice to be the underdog for a change.”