Almondbury Spartans Rugby League Club has only been up and running since 2018 and now they are on the cusp of playing in the Yorkshire Men’s League Premier Division. Club chairman and head coach Craig Morgan says he wants the club to enter the National League Conference in two years’ time.
Craig has big ambitions for the club and wants to not only succeed on the pitch but also to create a real community off it. He wants to follow the example of fellow Huddersfield side the Newsome Panthers.
On his ambitions he said: “Our aim is to make it to the NCEL within the next two years and I truly believe we can get there. Obviously the Premier Division is a step up but I don’t see why we can’t compete at the higher end of the league. We have a good side and a young side that is only going to get better.
“The majority of players are between 17-22 years of age so it’s a team that can still improve. We did well this season and had some really excellent performances. We want to go into the Premier Division with real confidence.”
Since Craig set up the club in 2018 it has been looking to expand and build from the ground up. An old cricket clubhouse has been converted with renovation work still ongoing. Craig has big plans to make Almondbury a force on the field and a community hub off it.
He said: “Look at what Newsome have in their junior section. That’s what I want here, so whilst we have a young first team now, I want more kids to come through and to be from Almondbury.”
The club has just won the first division title this season and feels it is ready to make the step up to the Premier Division. The team did win silverware in their very first campaign too – they were named Huddersfield champions when they won the Holliday Cup back in 2018. However, tough times for the club came about when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
Reflecting on that period just over one year into existence Craig said: “I have always been the kind of guy that if you get knocked down you need to get back up again.
“Through Covid-19 it was tough because you had 50-60 lads that were chomping at the bit to play but couldn’t and all they could do was train at home.
“Obviously the club had only really just got going and so when Covid-19 hit it was a blow, however you had to keep positive and I think we got through it OK. No players left which was a bonus.
“Now we are out of Covid-19 hopefully we can make even more strides forward both on and off the pitch. I’d love to see the local community get behind this club.”
Finally Craig wanted to thank a number of people who have helped him set up the club along the way.
He said: “I want to thank everyone who has been involved up to this point. I have always dreamt of running my own club. I first played in 1989 when I joined Almondbury Lions. They eventually disbanded and I wanted to set this club up.
“I wanted to specifically thank Jamie Dutton from Honeycombe, he has been our main sponsor over the past two years. He is a huge part of our club so thanks to him.
“Overall we wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have so far without the hard work of lots of volunteers. We are building a community of people here and hopefully we can make that bigger and stronger going forward.”