PGRFC have strengthened their squad with the arrival of three new faces.
Hooker Alan Holmes arrives from neighbours Fylde, centre Andy Thornley joins from Sale Academy whilst UCLAN student Josh Purnell arrives having previously been part of the Northampton Saints academy.
Hooker Holmes will need no introduction to the Hoppers faithful. A physical front rower, Alan has previously had spells at Kendal (where his brother Garry plays in the back row), Sedgley Park and Fylde where he made over 100 appearances in a seven year spell with the Woodlands outfit. In addition to his playing role he was also a Community Coach for the Ansdell club whilst he has also coached the Lancashire Under 20’s squad. Speaking on becoming a Hopper Alan said “I’m very pleased to be joining Preston, it is a young and ambitious squad, which have made me feel very welcome. I am looking forward to working with Coaches Dave Baldwin and Karl Fitzpatrick, who have created a dynamic atmosphere at training which is great to be a part of”.
Andy Thornley joins Hoppers on the recommendation of the Sale Sharks having recently switched codes where he was part of the Wigan Warriors youth system. His brother Iain has taken the same route and is currently on loan from Sale to Leeds with former Hoppers favourite Tommy Bell. At home in the centre or back row Andy is looking to gain valuable experience in the Union code. On joining Hoppers Andy said “I am really enjoying it at Preston. I like the brand of rugby the coaches are wanting us to play. I am grateful for the link Preston have with Sale as I hope this will speed up my development within rugby union”. Andy made his debut as a replacement in last weeks defeat at Luctonians.
Finally the club are delighted to welcome Josh Purnell into the fold. Equally at home at scrum half or fly half, Josh is in his second year at UCLAN and having impressed in the 2nd XV he has now deservedly been promoted into the 1st XV ranks. Josh is from the Northampton area and has spent time in the Northampton Saints youth set up where he came into contact with Hoppers old boy and Saints assistant coach Paul Grayson. Speaking on his time so far at Lightfoot Green Josh said “Joining Hoppers this season has been transformational for me as a player and I’m hoping being part of the squad will help me to fufil my potential as a player”.
However in the opposite direction the club has said farewell to scrum half James Smith who has decided to join rivals Caldy. A popular menber of the squad, Everyone at PGRFC wishes James well.