Our 2023/24 season kicks off tomorrow, as both our mens and ladies 1st XVs travel to Derby for our first warm-up fixtures of the new season. Both games kick off at 2pm, and will be a full squad workout.
There are a few changes in personnel for this season within the club :
- first, Stuart Cooper, our Director of Rugby for as long as we can remember, has stepped down and Chris Young has taken up this role. Many thanks to Stuart for his hard work and time spent at DRUFC : his input into the club has been constant and the results we are seeing today is, in no small part, down to his efforts. You will be missed, and we wish you all the best. We are sure Youngy will be just as good.
- a new face in the coaching team is Paul Cooke, who joins us as head coach. Paul ‘Cooky’ is the current Head Coach at Hymers College, and has had previous coaching roles at Bridlington, leading them to promotion and Twickenham a few years ago, and also at Hull Ionians. A warm welcome to Cooky : we wish him a great season.
- Tosh Askew has taken a part-time role back in Italy. He will still be involved in coaching at the club, hopefully being able to take some sessions when he returns. Again, a big thanks to Tosh for what he has brought to the club. His input to the club has been well-noted, and the improvement in some of our fringe and squad players has been remarkable under his guidance. I also know that players think very highly of him. Many thanks to Tosh.
- the rest of the coaching set-up stays the same, with Mitch, Alex Piercy, Gary Stephenson. Harrison Dodds joins the coaching team as line-out coach.
In the men’s 1st XV squad, there are also changes :
- we have had to say goodbye to two of our best : Ben Dinsdale has moved to Leeds, that brought an opportunity to join Otley in a higher league, which he took
- Matthew Jenkinson has also departed, moving back up North. Jenky is going to be playing for Blaydon this season, so we will have to keep him quiet for those two games
- the talented Will Hughes is joining us from Malton : Will joins us as a second row / back row. Welcome Will
- we also have Bryce McKinnon returning from his trip back to Canada
- and a new signing in Kalani Grant, a New Zealand 10 or 15. Welcome to you both too
- Adam Brankley takes the captain’s role from Rob Mewburn. Thanks to Rob for your effort over the past few years
- Simon Pettinger takes the role of Vice Captain.
A tough league ahead with no easy games. Blaydon and Harrogate dropped down from the league above, with Pontefract coming up. Then there are last years remaining teams : Alnwick, Cleckheaton, Doncaster Phoenix, Heath, Ilkley, Sandal, Scunthorpe and York. A very, very tough league.
We have a couple of run-outs before the league opener : Derby this weekend ; Bridlington at home in the Turnbull Trophy next Saturday, 26 August. We have a pre-match lunch with places still available for this one : full tables or single seats can be booked – call Kerry to reserve your place (01377) 256598.
Then, it is straight into action as we welcome Harrogate on Saturday, 2 September.
The Ladies are looking forward to their season too. Laurie Fergusson has stepped down as Ladies Chair and will be playing rugby at Pocklington RUFC seeking more game time and helping them set up their ladies division. Many thanks to Laurie for her hard work getting Driffield Ladies off the ground and the success they have had. Lauren Fairbank takes on the role of Chair, we wish her all the best for the season ahead. Laura Harris has been handed the Captain’s arm band for the season, with Ellie Harding as Vice Captain.
The Ladies fought off relegation last season to remain in Championship 2 North for this season. They have another tough season ahead, facing Sefton, Kendal, Sheffield, Birkenhead, Manchester, Crewe & Nantwich, Southport, and Harrogate. Again, a llot of travelling for the Ladies. They start their league campaign on Sunday, 17 September when they travel to Sefton.
Don’t forget to check the website for updates, and follow us for live updates on our social media.
- Instagram – @driffieldrufc / @drufc_ladies_and_girls
- Facebook – @DriffieldRUFC
- Twitter – @Driffrugby
Good Luck to all in Blue, Black and White for the season ahead.