Newsome Panthers have made a lot of history over the last few years – and they could be about to make some more.
The Panthers have reached the final of the Yorkshire Men’s Rugby League Cup – a trophy no Huddersfield team has ever won. In fact it is 28 years since a Huddersfield team won a Yorkshire cup of any sort.
Coach Richie Hawkyard is hoping his players can step up to the plate and put themselves in the history books as they take on Keighley Albion at Featherstone Rovers’ Millennium Stadium on Saturday (July 15) – 5pm kick off.
“We are very excited for the final and can’t wait to get going,” said Hawkyard. “We’ve been a bit injury-hit the last few weeks and so if we can get some players back then great.
“Keighley are in Division 1, the league below us, but they are a very good side. They will definitely be up for the game and wanting to show what they can do against us. So we know if we want to win the cup we must be ready to fight for it and play to our top potential.
“It could be an historic moment for us as the first Huddersfield team to win this particular trophy in its 15-year history. The last Huddersfield team to win a Yorkshire cup of any sort was 28 years ago when Lindley won a cup. I was there to see it. So I’ve told our lads how much they can make history this weekend.”
The Panthers are still at the top of the Yorkshire Men’s Rugby League Premier Division having lost only two games this season, both coming against Fryston. Whilst Hawkyard is disappointed with the defeats he’s still happy overall with the team’s performances and consistency across the season.
He added: “We’ve done well this season making the step up two leagues. We’ve lost twice to Fryston. The first time we played we were poor, the second time which was only a week ago, we just lost because of injuries. I still put a team out I thought was capable of beating them but we have suffered badly with injuries.”
With the club remaining at the top of the league Hawkyard explained what may happen at the end of the season regarding promotion.
He said: “The league hasn’t decided what it wants to do yet, just have a simple league where the top team wins the league and the top two have a chance to get promoted or they might be thinking about doing a four team play-off. I’m sure we’ll find out in due course.
“If we do win the league that will be a terrific first season in this division. It is, however, for the moment the highest we can go because we haven’t got a clubhouse. People behind the scenes are working on this. However to go up to the National Conference leagues you need to have certain things in place which we don’t yet have.
“It is certainly our ambition to one day play in the NCL especially since in none of those four divisions is there a team from Huddersfield. We want to eventually change that and are determined to do so.
“For now, though, we will focus on the task in hand and trying to win this cup and league.”