Hudgell’s change of heart

Neil Hudgell will retain ownership of Hull KR and has taken the club off the market.

The development came as the play-off chasers completed a seasonal Super League double over Wigan with a 26-14 home win on Friday.

That lifted them to fifth ahead of Saturday’s big derby visit to sixth-placed Hull FC.

Hudgell, who runs a nationally prominent firm of solicitors, announced last summer that he would stand down after 16 years as Chairman on December 1.

At that stage, the lifelong supporter felt he had taken the club, who finished bottom of Super League last year, as far as he could.

“Hull Kingston Rovers has been an all-consuming journey for me for the last 16 years and I have decided that now is the right time for change,” he explained at the time.

“The weight of expectation for a club of our size and support base is enormous and needs more than I feel I am now able to give.”

Paul Lakin was made chief executive and handed responsibility for the day-to-day running of Rovers, who were relegated in 2016 but returned to the top flight at the first attempt.

“The club is no longer for sale,” explained Lakin after Friday’s announcement.

“Neil, who has been the owner for 17 years, wants to continue to own the club. He’s encouraged by what we are doing on and off the field.

“He’s a fantastic owner for this club and we are all delighted.”

Hull FC go into the eagerly-awaited Rovers clash at the MKM Stadium on the back of a 31-16 defeat by Catalans Dragons in France.

It’s one of a number of round-20 derbies, which has been labelled the ‘Rivals Round’ by Super League, with Leeds hosting Huddersfield on Thursday, Wigan taking on St Helens on Friday, Wakefield visiting Castleford on Saturday and Leigh meeting Salford on Sunday.

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