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Rugby Union: Littleborough first team review for this season

Date published: 09 June 2017

Coming from the highs of last season where all the first team accomplished a year-long goal for promotion this season was always going to be challenging and despite some particularly low points, there was plenty of huge positives and spirit that will set the groundwork for continual development in the next few seasons to come.

Jumping up to the North Lancashire and Cumbrian league (seventh tier of English Rugby) alongside some financially strong clubs would require the core group of first team players to collectively step up as individuals and show they are more than capable at playing to that level, but also test the depth and quality of the squad in what would be a long season with regular long trips to Cumbria.

That would be the case indeed as a difficult start to the season saw Littleborough firsts win just once in the first four games including tough trips to Hawcoat Park and Wigton as well as a home game against eventual league runners up Aspatria. The two away games were lost by small margins and that hard work and effort would not go to waste as they went onto record victories in three of their next four matches, one of which was against local rivals Oldham by a score of 25-12.

For the rest of the season it was the same story throughout, an impressive and dominant win one week, the next a disappointing loss. This lack of consistency would cost Littleborough a position in the top half but would help them achieve the pre-season target of survival.

Though club discipline issues would ultimately cost Littleborough 20 points and sink them right in the middle of a relegation dogfight they didn’t deserve. A superb effort by the players to finish strongly and stay in the division saw them pick up five victories in the last nine games.

Three of those came against relegation rivals and eventual relegation sufferers Workington, Silloth and Upper Eden.

Littleborough were also unfortunate to have fallen at the final huddle in the cup competition, losing to a team they were expected to beat in Tyldesley by a 33-15 scoreline.

An unusually poor performance matched with playing a good attacking side meant that this season couldn’t match up to the medal haul of previous. However, the semi-final performance away at Southport was a particular highlight as one of the best performances of the season. It had it all from a Boro perspective: Flair, crunching defence and intelligent rugby.

One of the major positives of the season was the impact made by the team’s newest recruits.

Winger Liam Lloyd, centre Alex West and Scrum half Richard Taylor, to name a few, have all played a significant role in the absence of injured personnel and give those returning next season a tough journey to get back into the starting line-up.

Next season will have a different feel to it given the expected change in director of rugby, first team coach and first team captain positions.

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Serenity by Kim Gregory.