PROMOTION is fast becoming a distinct possibility for Ellesmere Port Rugby Club as their youthful first team show signs they are coming of age.
That is the view of chairman Paul Watkinson, who says that confidence is high in and around the club after a run of seven wins out of eight saw them climb to third place in the South Lancs/Cheshire Division Three table.
Top-scoring fullback Anthony Jones, centre Pete Doyle and forwards James Shinton, James Callaghan and Niall Grant have all come through Port’s successful youth set up to star for their first XV this season.
And with the club now regularly putting out three teams each weekend, Watkinson believes they are starting to see the fruits of their labour in developing young talent.
“The younger lads know each other well, having come into the first team en masse in the last few years and have now have a great deal of experience under their belts,” he said.
“They had a good pre-season, work well with the coaches and are now maturing and developing.
“Two thirds of the side selected for our last game came through the junior system.
“We had trouble getting it off the ground initially, but it’s starting to come to fruition and credit must go to everyone involved.
“But just because we’ve had a crop of good young players come through doesn’t mean that we’ll rest on our laurels as it’s in our interests to sustain it.
“We’ll try to hang on to these players, and the best way to do that is to be successful.”
Port, coached by Ian Johnson, are due to return to league action on Saturday when they head to struggling Buxton, although the week’s frosty weather has put the fixture in doubt. They are two points behind second-placed Crewe & Nantwich and 10 behind pacesetters Prenton.
“Things are looking good for us and we are going to push the top two all the way,” said Watkinson.
“Promotion is now a real possibility and if we don’t achieve it this season, we’ll definitely be looking to do so the season after.”
Port’s Cheshire Plate clash at promotion rivals Crewe & Nantwich last Saturday was frozen off.