Rovers to remain in Pennine Premier for 2011-12

After a length of uncertainty of in which league Sharlston Rovers will play their 2011-12 season rugby this winter, we can confirm after a meeting this week Rovers will continue in the Pennine league in a strong Pennine premier division.

The club were keen to show support to the introduction of a winter based BARLA National conference league joining other Pennine premier teams such as Drighlington and Queens, but after a meeting at BARLA headquarters on Thursday (21st July) only 6 teams showed affirmation to start in September.

BARLA will now aim to hold discussions with regional league representatives with a view to forming a Premier competition that will run more nationally above the regional league Premier's from 2012/13 season.

Rovers Chairman Mick Taylor who attended the meeting on behalf of Sharlston said “Sharlston want to be in the most competitive competition that we can possibly achieve and on paper the BARLA conference looked like it could be that. We didn’t want to be left behind and be too strong for the Pennine premier if the likes of Queens and Drighlington went without us, but with the lack interest from further afield than the Yorkshire region BARLA couldn’t get their prosed league off the ground on this attempt.”

So another year at least in the Pennine premier doesn’t look to disappoint with a strong 8 team division last season where Rovers finished runners up to Queens. It’s expected that the premier division will be bumped up to 10 teams with West Bowling’s decision to move to winter rugby after the NCL adopted the new summer season. Other hopeful applicants for the Pennine league are National cup finalists Fryston Warriors would be worth of premier rugby.

The applicants are hoping to get the green light on Monday (25th July) at the league’s Annual General Meeting. If successful the Pennine premier division looks to become one of the strongest regional leagues in the country with Clayton and Wibsey Warriors adding to the firepower after earning promotion from the championship division.

Head coach Gordy Long said “I’m sure it’s going to be another great season in the Pennine premier and were looking forward to the challenge. Being the National cup champions will mean some teams will be coming to try and knock us off our perch but we’ve started early in training to be prepared come September.”

Both open age teams are now back in pre-season training meeting at 6:45pm Tuesday and Thursday at their Weeland Road base. Any players new or old are welcome to join the club for the upcoming winter season.

Possible teams for premier division are - Clayton, Drighlington, Fryston, Hunslet Old boys, Queens, Sharlston, Slaithwaite, St Joesphs, West Bowling, Wibsey.