Phil and Ally Step up to the plate

Date: 21 August 2014

PGRFC are delighted to announce the appointment of Phil Baines as 1st XV Captain for the 2014/15 whilst Alastair Murray is appointed vice captain. Baines will step up from his vice-captain role to replace Dominic Moon as skipper whilst Murray is rewarded for some excellent displays as stand in captain towards the end of the previous campaign.

Phil Baines

Phil Baines is Hoppers new skipper for 2014/15

Both Baines and Murray have been regular members of the side over the last few seasons with Baines quickly closing in on 100 league appearances (including an impressive 30 tries) whilst Murray reached the 50 cap landmark during the 2013/14 campaign. Both players have also been part of the title winning Lancashire squad for the last two seasons.

The appointments mark a changing in the order implemented by Head Coach Garth Dew. Speaking on the decision to promote Baines to the captain Garth said “’I am delighted to appoint Phil Baines as Captain for the 2014/15 season. Phil has been a key player for Hoppers over the last few seasons as vice-captain and now he will get his chance to lead the side. His experience and level headed approach will allow him to make good decisions on the pitch and represent the club well off it. On behalf of the club I’d like to congratulate Phil and wish him all the best for the coming season”.

Speaking on his appointment, new skipper Baines commented “”It is a great honour for me to be named captain of this great club and it is a role I will perform with great pride. Team spirit has always been very high in our dressing room and I am very grateful to Garth and Alan (Holmes) for the faith they have shown in me. I look forward to leading the boys out on the 6th September for our first home league match and hope it is a season that will bring the team and fans a lot of success.”

With Baines stepping up to the Captain role, Dew has moved quickly to appoint a replacement. “I am pleased to announce Ally Murray will be vice-captain for the coming season. Ally led the team very well towards the end of last season and I’m sure he will continue to develop his leadership skills in this role. Ally thrives on responsibility and I’m hoping he will lead by example whilst using his strong rugby knowledge to support Phil on the pitch in terms of decision making and game management.’

Speaking on his elevation to the vice-captaincy, Murray said “Firstly, what an honour to be asked! I’m so proud as the club is very close to my heart and I have made a lot of very good life-long friends here. There is nothing I want more than to see than this squad and club move forward and succeed and I think we are doing just that. I am totally confident the right people are running the club and we have a very strong base. I would love one day to be Captain and I hope to be considered in the future but I know I need to work hard as vice and support Phil and the rest of the boys”.

Ally Murray

Ally Murray, Vice-Captain for 2014/15

Dew was also quick to praise outgoing captain Dominic Moon who is unfortunately set for a spell on the side lines as he recuperates from surgery in the off season. “Last season’s captain Dominic Moon is now recovering from surgery and I felt it in Dominic’s best interests to relieve him of the captaincy whilst he concentrates on getting back to full fitness and to the form that has seen him take the league by storm in recent seasons. I’d like to thank ‘Moonie’ for all his hard work and passionate approach and I’m sure the whole club wishes him a speedy recovery. He will no doubt continue to lead by example on his return to playing”.

As befits the man, Moon was supportive of the decision and the appointments of Baines and Murray. “It’s disappointing that I was unable to be considered to continue as captain due to my injury situation but I fully support the coaches decision to appoint Phil and Ally to the roles. I wish them well and will be right behind them. I am looking forward to getting back on the field and hopefully finally being pain free will allow me to make a big impact for the team on my return”.

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