Community Focus: Rylands Sharks return in 2018

Rylands Sharks are on their way back in 2018.

After a promising start to their 2017 National Conference Division Three campaign, the Warrington amateur side hit problems as numbers available to play or commit to the travelling involved began to dwindle.

This unfortunately meant that they had to withdraw from the league and as a result some of their promising players ended up moving onto other sides.

The good news is that the club didn’t stop and now they are ready to take on the world again.

With a new coaching team in place in Liam Lawton and Rob Campbell, Rylands are to return to the North West Men’s League.

Just before Christmas, Dave Parkinson caught up with Liam.

Explaining how they came to get the job Lawton said, “after hearing about (the club) pulling out of the NCL last year and hearing that it wasn’t looking very good for this year, me and Rob both sat down and said that we couldn’t see the club not have an open age. We got our heads together and went from there; got in touch with the committee and started pulling players in.”

“It’s not the same team as last year,” Liam explained, “We are looking at playing in the North West Mens League and a lot of those players are still wanting to play at a higher level so they are going to continue playing, i.e at Woolston, Crosfields and wherever else. There are a lot of the lads who played second team last year that are coming back on board and also some of the under-18s who Rob previously coached. We’ve got a good mix.”

Lawton’s coaching story began a decade ago.

“About ten years ago I started coaching the under-15s team at Crosfields. That was for about twelve months and then I got back into playing. There was a bloke called Mal Mason that I was playing for at Rylands and he wanted to step down. He asked me to take over, but from there it just progressed. It’s something I enjoy doing.”

Speaking with Liam, his love for the sport shines through.

“I love the game, loved playing the game, but unfortunately my body isn’t letting me do it as much and I’m enjoying taking up coaching and still being a part of it and being involved. I’m very passionate about it.”

With the Rylands name being well known in rugby league circles, there is a real challenge for the new coaching duo but they are taking things in their stride.

“It’s a massive ask because of what’s happened over the last couple of years but me and Rob are very confident that we can get it back going and get a winning team back at Rylands.” Lawton said, ” Our plan is to progress through the leagues and maybe one day in the future, look at going back in the NCL. We are taking baby steps at the moment and hopefully, fingers crossed, it will continue to build.”

Perhaps unusually, Rylands have taken the step to appoint joint coaches with equal responsibilities and Lawton spoke highly of Rob Campbell.

“We are both on the same page and have the same views on everything. I’ve known Rob for a fair few years so if there is ever a problem we can sit down and sort it. The players respect both me and Rob because we have played with them years ago and we are quite fair with the lads. I think it will work very well with us being good friends.”

The full interview, broadcast originally on www.radiogeneral.co.uk can be heard via the following link.