Head coach David Kirby believes a ‘fantastic spirit’ can drive Chester Gladiators forward to promotion in the North West Men’s League this season.
Kirby was appointed over the winter and has steered Chester to three wins from three pre-season games, including a 62-0 success at Southport Storm at the weekend.
Gladiators start the 2015 campaign proper against Westhoughton Lions in the NWML Shield and Kirby wants his team to put down a marker for the rest of the season.
“When I heard I got the job of coaching at Chester I was so excited to get my first opportunity to show what I can do as a coach at senior level,” said Kirby, who played for Championship clubs Blackpool Panthers and North Wales Crusaders.
“As soon as training started I began to realise I had a special group of players. From day one I have tried to put the main focus on structure, communication and positive mental attitude.
“If people come to watch us these things are so apparent from kick-off to final whistle, and the spirit at the moment is fantastic.
“I said from day one promotion was our main goal, but now I really feel we need to be aiming at a season unbeaten.
“Our pre-season games have gone from strength to strength and one of the great positives up to now is the quality of youth we have at our disposal.
“Eight of our first team last weekend were under the age of 22, however it’s the blend of youth and experience that is working particularly well. It’s great watching the seniors helping the young lads out in training and matches.”
Chester ran in 11 tries at Southport, racing into an 18-0 lead through Chris Young, Jonny Rae and Daniel Munt.
Simon Quinn, Terry Toland and debutant Chris Jones touched down before half-time and second-half scores from Quinn, Jones, Ben Stelmaszek, Joel Gibbs and Josh Walker sealed a dominant win with scrum half Aled Davies missing just two conversions.
Saturday’s game with Westhoughton is being played on the road at The Barony in Nantwich, as is the club’s A team game with Runcorn, also in the NWML Shield.
Meanwhile, Chester Gladiators’ under 7s and under 8s teams have been accepted into the North West Counties Rugby League Association for the 2015 season.
It is the first time Chester has had teams at these age groups and the club is recruiting new players in Year 2 and Year 3 to join the squads.
Matches are played on Sunday mornings against clubs from across the region, and the first games take place this weekend at Christleton High School.
Any parents interested in getting their children into rugby league are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07512 355396.