North Wales Crusaders U13s have made a terrific start to their 2019 season as they sit top of the North West Counties Division Four, have a cup semi-final to look forward to and are unbeaten in all competitions.
Since they were formed last summer, the team have played 15 matches and only been beaten once, which isn’t a bad return for relatively new team.
Coaches Allen Jones and Rikki Davies, however, are far from complacent and keen to make sure that the team continue to work hard, learn and improve in all aspects of the game.
Having played a number of friendly matches when they formed last summer, Jones and Davies made the bold decision to formally join the North West Counties U13s-U15s division ahead of the 2019 campaign.
Jones said: “We knew that, for the team to develop and improve, we needed to be playing regular fixtures against established clubs from the rugby league heartlands.
“We explained this to the parents and they were really supportive.
“I think they knew we had a special group of players and were as eager as Rikki and myself to take on the challenge.”
The team trained through the winter and were well-prepared for 2019.
“We managed to retain the bulk of the 2018 squad,” Jones added.
“We have also added three more quality players and now have a squad of 20 registered players, which is pretty much ideal.
“But we do want to grow the squad and we feel we are a very welcoming group, always giving a friendly welcome to any new players regardless of their rugby playing experience.”
A lot of the team’s success is down to the hard work put in by everyone in the training sessions.
“We are lucky to have a group of supportive parents,” Davies said.
“Some travel quite a way to training each week and then do the same for away games, but the parents have been superb and we really appreciate all they do to support the team.”
Jones and Davies have a clear vision about what the future holds for the team.
“We want to make each and every player the very best they can possibly be both as rugby league players and young people,” Jones said.
“We set high standards of performance, which the boys are reaching at the moment.
“We will continue to improve and develop the team both as individuals and as a collective.
“We don’t give the boys a script to play from as we coach them to be tough, skilful, make their own decisions on the pitch and play heads up rugby league.
“The boys are a real joy to coach and Rikki and I are fortunate to have such a talented group to work with.”
The U13s are at home this Sunday (May 26), taking on South Trafford Raiders at Queensway Stadium from 10.30am in a friendly fixture.