The second team have named their squad for this weekend’s eagerly anticipated derby with Fylde Hawks this Saturday.
Hoppers are top of the Bateman Premier League with an unblemished record whilst the Hawks lurk in third place having lost just two of their ten games to date.
Young’s men welcome Joab Murphy, Chris Taylor, Alex Roebuck and Russ Flynn back to the squad which overwhelmed Stockport last weekend. Whilst they can also call upon Alan Holmes, whose work commitments have meant that he cannot travel with the first team.
Hoppers go into the game confident rather than complacent as the Hawks will provide them with arguably their toughest test of the season so far.
Kick off at Lightfoot Green is at 2.15 and the lads would welcome your support. For those fearful of missing England’s clash with the All Blacks the match will be shown in real time shortly after the second team game finishes.
Whilst a number of players remain on standby the eighteen man squad is as follows:
Mawdsley, Holmes, McGuinness, Banks, Murphy, Taylor, Doney, Proctor, Worlock, Mabaya, Whyte, Roebuck, Elliott, Farley, Murray, Marshall, Yates, Flynn
Interview with Coach John Young and Manager Ade Jebb
Saturday sees the unbeaten 2nd XV welcome Fylde to Lightfoot Green in the biggest game of the season to date. Ahead of the game we caught up with 2nd XV coach John Young and manager Ade Jebb to get their thoughts on how the season has been so far. Saturday’s game kicks off at 2.15pm and it would be great to see a healthy crowd for this local derby.
A good start to the season so far, what’s the secret to the 2nd XV’s great start?
AJ: Firstly the lads have worked hard all through pre-season and once the season has got going the effort has continued. Additionally there’s always a great turn out for training so it’s been relatively easy to manitain continuity. Despite the success of the last two seasons the staff and players are hungry for more and I think losing the league on points difference has added to the motivation.
JY: I think its due to a number of factors, the first is down to the players, they are hungry for success, losing their league title on points difference was tough on them and they are determined to go 1 better this season. Secondly as a coaching team we have empowered the players to think for themselves and play whats in front of them – this has given them the confidence to really express themselves and try things. Finally the ethos in the club as a whole has inspired them to perform, players can genuinely see a pathway to the 1st team and 1st team players who come down know they will be given chance to shine and earn their places back – competition for places is key.
Who have been the toughest opponents you’ve faced so far?
AJ: Whilst Sedgley Park ran us close they came with a game plan which focused on disrupting our style of play, this was compounded by an average performance on our part. So therefore I would say that Macclesfield were the best side we’ve faced, they had real pace in their backs but we performed really well on the day and secured a convincing victory.
JY: We have faced some tough games this season but like Jebbby would have to say its been Macclesfield and Sedgley who have proved our toughest opponents. Sedgley are a team in transition with a combatative gameplan and pushed us close – they had a kick to win in injury time. Macclesfield were very good on the counter attack with an excellent backrow but again the lads worked out for themselves how best to deal with the situation and in the 2nd half we played some of our best rugby of the season in both attack and defence. We were helped that day though by a more mature player being on the park!!!!
What has been the best performance by the team and why?
AJ: That’s tough one, as I alluded to previously the lads played really well against Macclesfield whilst they showed some real quality away at Sale FC. However I think Saturday’s win against Stockport was an illustration of how good the lads can be. They started with real intent and the forwards put in a dominant performance against a highly fancied team who had comfortably beaten Fylde just two weeks previously. Everybody from 1 to 18 made a positive contribution and despite some awful weather played some eye catching rugby.
JY: I would have to agree with Jebby on this one. The conditions against stockport were horrific yet we managed to play some fantastic rugby on the back of the platform laid by the forwards. It’s a testament to them that despite the result going against them the Stockport committee & players were very very complimentary of the teams performance post match
It must be great to see players stepping up from the 2nd XV and looking so at home in the 1st team?
AJ: Yes absolutely, over the past two seasons a number of lads have stepped up and contributed, replicating the form they showed with the second team. We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve developed a senior squad rather than two seperate teams. Everybody knows that if they keep performing for the second team then they are likely to get their chance. It makes for some difficult selections on a Thursday but it’s a nice problem for us to have.
JY: Thats what we are here for really, we as a coaching team are committed to making sure our players have the skills and the opportunities to make that step up. We train with and against the 1st team every week but we are just one big squad this not only helps players see where they need to be skills wise but to also see the genuine progression upwards. Its also been great to see new lads coming to the club integrating well into the team and young lads stepping up from the senior colts.
What do you expect from Fylde this week?
AJ: We’re expecting a tough test, but then we expect that every week in this league. The Hawks have certainly produced some eye catching performances this season although I’d like to think that we’ll test them in ways they’ve not been tested so far this season. In recent weeks the likes of Olly Viney and Michael Lawton have been playing so I’d expect them to counter attack at each given opportunity and look to put as much width on the ball as possible. In recent seasons they’ve not really selected players who aren’t picked for the first team, this year they appear to have reverted to a more traditional selection policy. It’s good for the league and their results appeared to have improved as a result. We’re approaching the game full of optimism rather than complacency though and are looking to maintain our form.
JY: Fylde as a club seem to be promoting the idea of playing with the ball rather than kicking it so I think we can expect a running game from them on Saturday. They look to attack from anywhere through their exciting back line so our defence and game management will be key, that said we have scored the same amout of points as them so we are no slouches when it comes to attacking rugby!!! As a forward and having played in these matches I am pretty sure it will be pretty intense up front as well!!!
Who have been consistent performers for the 2nd XV so far?
AJ: To be fair the whole squad have made positive contributions this season and should be proud of the way they’ve performed. It’s always difficult naming individuals but back-row forward Chris Taylor has been something of a talismanic figure since arriving in the Summer. He’s a no-nonsense kind of player who makes very few errors, his defence has been very good whilst he has a nice habit of crossing the whitewash.
In the interests of fairness I should probably mention an outside back too. Ryan Marshall has been exceptionally consistent. He’s played centre, wing or full-back and as with Taylor his error count has been minimal for us. He’s fitted in really well, scoring some great tries (including a couple on Saturday) and showing great committment in defence.
JY: Its hard to single out individuals because from the 1st session of pre season the lads have bought into what we are trying to do and have really put the work in both off and on the pitch. I agree with Jebby that Chris Taylor has given us a real edge in the forwards along with Jonny Doney who has really kicked on from last season – both lads are knocking on the door of the 1st xv. In the backs Ryan Marshall has arrived, settled in well & has added some Kiwi grit, Ollie Farley’s place kicking has proved invaluable too.
Why should people come and watch the 2nd XV? Do you try and play attractive rugby?
AJ: Well for starters it’s Hoppers vs Fylde so I would urge any of the Lightfoot Green faithful who are at a loose end to come and support the lads. This is not intended to be dismissive of our other senior sides but a derby’s a derby at the end of the day.
We’ve scored 532 points in ten games this season (the best in the league along with Fylde funnily enough) whilst we also boast the meanest defensive record. We certainly like to play a fast, expansive game with forwards who are comfortable on the ball. Saturday’s win over Stockport was a good illustration of that.
It is also encouraging (in my view) that we have a squad who are all capable of playing first team (if they haven’t already), including a lot of young lads who have progressed from junior rugby.
JY: We always look to play attractive rugby with a bit of steel thrown in when needed and like all players the lads always like to perform in front of a healthy crowd so hopefully this is reason enough for the supporters who would normally watch the 1’s to come and watch us with the 1st team away. As for this saturday in particular, It’s a derby against our nearest rivals on and off the pitch and it promises to be a great game of rugby. Personally I think some of the rugby that could be on show on saturday would not be out of place in North 1/National 3 (and its free entry too) so we would love to see a few more people turning out to watch us and then staying around in the club to watch the England game afterwards…