Coventry Bears director of rugby Alan Robinson has said his club’s delayed start to the league campaign isn’t ideal, but they will make the most of it by building on the positives to come out of their Challenge Cup defeat to Hunslet.
Sunday’s scheduled fixture against Rochdale was postponed to allow the Hornets to play their third round Challenge Cup tie that fell victim to the weather the previous week.
The Bears are now not back in action until Sunday, March 1 when Newcastle travel to Butts Park Arena.
“We got a couple of injuries to Brad Sheridan and Peter Ryan early on, so that took its toll in the second half against Hunslet,” said Robinson.
“But we still took plenty of positives out of the game. We matched Hunslet pretty well in the first half, and did a lot of defending. The deteriorating conditions ended up playing into hands of Hunslet’s big pack.
“We are still pretty confident with the way we have prepared in pre-season.
“A couple of weeks without a game will now help Brad and Peter get over their knocks, but really we just want to get going and be playing.
“We will prepare properly for the next couple of weeks and try to start as strongly as possible. Newcastle at home are followed by Barrow away so that is two really tough games to start with.
“But we started well and beat Newcastle down here last year, so hopefully we can make it a tough trip for them.”
KEIGHLEY COUGARS assistant coach Dean Muir has confirmed that forward Jordan Aitchison has already returned to the club after undergoing successful heart surgery.
The utility back was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome following routine, pre-season scans, but. The condition can be cured with surgery and Aitchison should return to action later this year.
“Everything went to plan and Jordan is on the road to recovery,” said Muir.
“He came to the club and saw all the boys at training after his surgery and it was great to see him.
“He’s back to his old self and had a laugh and a joke with the boys, which was great to see. He also sat and did some video work with us before watching training. He was smiling and happy and has already asked if, when he’s ready to do a bit more, he can come in and take some training with one of the younger age groups at a local club as a way of helping in the community.
“It’s never nice to see anyone diagnosed with something like this, but he handled it well and we are so lucky as a club we have the medical support that we do.
“We’re now all hoping for a speedy recovery so he can join back in with us as soon as he can.”
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS coach Anthony Murray has said Karl Ashall and Tommy Johnson were the natural selection when it came to naming the club’s joint captains for 2020.
“Karl and Tommy are two players who have been at Crusaders for a long time,” said Murray.
“They understand what the club is all about, and what playing for this club means. They have a lot of respect from the players, staff and fans and between them they have a lot of experience.
“I couldn’t have thought of two better candidates for the role than these two, who will hopefully see out their careers at this club.”
Murray also confirmed that Jack Holmes is facing a spell on the sidelines after picking up a broken hand in the Challenge Cup victory over Rochdale Mayfield.
He joins Ashall (double hernia), Joe Ryan (pec) and Matt Reid (groin) on the injury list.
WORKINGTON TOWN coach Chris Thorman has confirmed work has been done at Derwent Park in the off season to allow for the expansive style of play he will be hoping to see this season.
“I want to move the ball around this season or at least always have offensive options on every single play,” said Thorman.
“We’ve had the pitch at Derwent Park widened a little bit to allow us to make the most of the type of training we’ve been doing in attack.”
ROCHDALE HORNETS chairman Andy Mazey has said the club’s recruitment is just about done for 2020.
“Matt (Calland – coach) is pretty happy with what he’s got at this stage,” said Mazey.
“There might be one more, two at most, coming in, but with the dual registration with Toronto now as well we’re getting closer to where we need to be.
“Matt is a lot happier now than a month or so ago, but never say never.”
WEST WALES RAIDERS chief executive Peter Tiffin has said that a lot of work will take place ahead of in the next couple of weeks as they try to bounce back from their 30-8 home defeat to Underbank Rangers in the Challenge Cup.
Because of the disruption caused by Storm Ciara earlier this month, West Wales’ opening league match against Newcastle, scheduled for Saturday, was postponed, and with no appearance in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup, the club now do not play again until March 1, when Hunslet visit Stebonheath Park.
“It was a difficult result for us all to take but we will look at our plan for the season and review the game with all of our staff,” said Tiffin.
“Regardless of the result I’m fully confident in Aaron and his coaching team to progress the club forward in the league. We will continue with our recruitment and understand that the squad needs to grow to take part in League 1 this year.
“The staff are also aware that we are behind with a lot of items due to ongoings in preseason but we will all work together to build the club to where it can be both on and off the pitch. I feel with all of our support from current partners and sponsors that the club can progress to another level off the pitch this season.
“We have three weeks from that game until our next fixture and that’s plenty of time to improve massively.”
BARROW RAIDERS coach Paul Crarey believe local pride is making a big difference to the game in Cumbria this year.
With amateur players being given the opportunity to train with League 1 clubs on dual registration, many local stars are being given a shot at turning semi-professional.
“We are getting local lads now that want to play for Barrow while several years ago it wasn’t the case,” Crarey told the North West Evening Mail.
“We have to perform each week to keep the interest going and hopefully bring the crowds back. Two years ago when we beat Whitehaven to gain promotion we had 3,000 plus in the ground.
“We have to get those numbers coming through the gates, then we can build a stronger and more experienced squad.
“That’s is why at present we are bringing in the best of the local talent.
“You will always get young teenagers going to Super League clubs. Some make it others don’t but I believe we do our best in developing young kids who are all keen to give it a go with Barrow.”
LONDON SKOLARS have made a nod to their past by revealing a new, sky blue away shirt for 2020.
The club, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, wore a similar shirt throughout the 2003 season, which was the year they en