Head coach Mark Whitehead hopes to garland a “milestone day” in Huddersfield YMCA history with a win at Westoe on Saturday.
It’s the Laund Hill club’s first ever foray into National rugby as they take to the field at Wood Terrace in South Shields as newly-promoted members of National III North.
YM have a couple of new signings in their ranks – centre Sam Dalby from Underbank RL and Tom Van Rooyen, who has made the switch from Huddersfield RU to play centre or wing.
And Whitehead says everyone is looking forward to the occasion.
“It’s a massive milestone for YM to be playing national league rugby and all the lads are looking forward to it,” said Whitehead, who is in the line-up which will be led out by vice-captain James Bell in the absence of injured captain Ed Barber.
“None of us are overawed about the task because we know we have a squad which is good enough, and we’ve certainly got strength in depth now and competition for places.
“I’ve played against Westoe a lot in the past and, to be fair, I’m glad we are going up there at the start of the season rather than in January or February, because I think it will suit our running game and our plan to attack the try-line.
“Westoe normally have a big set of forwards, but we have had enough of the build-up now and we are ready to go.”
Whitehead has his former Huddersfield teammate Chris Johnson, now with Fylde, joining Damian Clayton in working with the backs, while Neil Walker and Ben Harris have been focusing on the forwards.
Harris, whose father Paul played at Laund Hill, was instrumental in helping line up the arrival of Dalby, who has been playing in Australia but has just returned to the area.
“We are very happy Sam has come in, and likewise with TVR from Huddersfield, who was looking for a change and has come on board with us this week,” added Whitehead.
“We welcome them both with open arms and it’s great to have them in our squad as we embark on a new level of rugby.”
YMCA: Wrafter, Hill, Slater, Bell, Housley, Sharrock, Hodge, Whitehead, Wilson, Wood, Bulloch, Dalby, Ryder, Stead, Bentley. Subs: Steve Dyke, Lumb, Van Rooyen.