Warrington based amateurs Crosfields are another club with a new man at the helm.
Former player Jimmy Williams has stepped into the Head Coach role following Mark Brennan’s decision to become coach of the new St Helens Ladies team that is set to make their debut this year.
Jimmy has a long association with Crosfields, as he told Dave Parkinson.
“I don’t really have much of a coaching background really, but I’ve always been a Crosfields lad, I’ve been there since I played my juniors and have been there over twenty years.
“I’ve been fortunate to be coached by a lot of good coaches such as Terry Reid, Steve Pickers(gill), Andy Coley, Pete Cannon, Wayne Ellis, so I’ve kind of learned my trade quite well from what I’ve picked up off them.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to coach Crosfields and I’m made up to have got the job.”
Save for six months away at Leigh Miners, Jimmy is definitely a hometown boy living the Roy of the Rovers dream.
“What’s a little bit different as I’ve got older, it’s quite hard to coach your friends, some of the lads coming through now are a next generation lot that are eighteen or nineteen years old.” He continued, “as a young group coming through now they have loads of talent and they are all buying into the same things – they love Crosfields themselves which is good, really good.”
The first team have gone from strength to strength in recent years with promotion from National Conference Division Three two years ago under Tony Benson and establishing themselves in League Two last term under Brennan.
“Tony Benson is massive shoes to fill. He’s probably one of the best coaches that’s been down at the club. The stuff he bought in, we’ve still got 90 percent of that just with a few tweeks here and there. Mark did a good job last year and he’s now moved on.”
“It’s about trying to go one better than last year and get at least play-offs, if not promotion this year.”
Last season, Crosfields made a brilliant start and were top and around the promotion spots for the first third of the season.
“They lost a couple of games and their confidence went. I think that sometimes it can be a bit of a habit, losing, and they got in a rut really, but at the back end of the year, they did well.”
“One of the big things at amateur,” Jimmy said, “is basically commitment. That is always an issue. If you are going away and not taking your full strength team, you are not giving yourself best chance. Crosfields have got a team there that is well capable of going up to the next division and we spoke about that in our team meeting; theat commitment and attitude is the thing that is going to get them over the line with it. We started training early this year.”
“Before I became coach that had already been arranged and that how keen they were for this year.”
Already Crosfields played a useful training friendly against North Wales Crusaders which proved beneficial for all parties. At the end of January another challenge awaits – Challenge Cup Rugby League at Rochdale Mayfield.
“The Challenge Cup goes by invite now and when Tony emailed me and said that we’d been invited, everyone was made up and buzzing.” Jimmy said.
“It can be a long pre-season when you are training over the winter and you are waiting for your season to start in March – it can drag on a bit! But now we have something to look forward to at the back end of January, and there’s nothing better than the Challenge Cup to jump in.”
“We’ve got a really tough tie, but we are well capable of doing a job on Mayfield if we turn up.”
Where some clubs operate first and second team training, it’s a bit different at Crosfields this term under Jimmy.
“There’s no first or second team. We are one club. We;ve got a Whatsapp group for all the lads, basically everyone is involved and we all train together. When lads step up or step down we all know our jobs. It’s good for the bond of the club really.”
Crosfields travel to Rochdale Mayfield on Saturday 27th January.