Maroons set for a tough season

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This Saturday (7 Sep) sees the opening weekend of the new league season with Whitby Maroons rugby team starting life in the challenging Durham and Northumberland League Two.

Maroons are at home to Hartlepool BBOB, the team which dramatically denied them the title last season.

Whitby Rugby Club 1st team player of year, joint winners, Jack Grady (left) and Dave Straker, receiving shield from president Dave Smith

Whitby Rugby Club 1st team player of year, joint winners, Jack Grady (left) and Dave Straker, receiving shield from president Dave Smith

It will be a tough campaign for the Whitby side as many of the stars from last season have moved on.

Twenty-eight try game breaker Dave Straker has left the area due to work commitments, kicker Christian Pollock, who secured 200-plus point, has gone to college in Northampton and last season’s player of the year Jack Grady has left to join the Royal Navy.

Evergreen prop John “Jock” Harrison has hung up his boots and Matt Kendrew has joined the forces.

The combative trio of Tristan Pottas, Gordon Bland and Ed Richardson are all unavailable in the near future due to work duties.

Dan Marsay remains on the sidelines with shoulder problems and, allied to this with players missing due to the long cricket season, this Saturday will see Whitby at full stretch.

But it is not all doom and gloom. First team coach Darryl Grason said that on the plus side, Andy Grady and Andy Watson return this week and there are several youngsters “who can step up and make their mark”.

Whitby already have one match under their belts, a Yorkshire Silver Cup game last Saturday which resulted in a 33-14 loss at Knaresborough, so they will be keento make amends for tomorrow’s league opener.

A large crowd is expected at the Showfield on Saturday for this season’s first league game which kicks off at 3pm.

* Whitby are hoping to field two teams again this season, the Maroons and the Harlequins. Fly half Steve Allen again skippers the Maroons with Matt Russell as vice captain, while the Quins are led by Dave Mahaffy with Matt Jones as vice captain.

Mr Grason added: “Anyone knew to the area or someone who simply wants to try the game can contact the club on 602008.”

Training continues at White Leys every Tuesday and Thursday at 6.30pm.