Rangers celebrate first promotion in almost 10 years

WES Rogers is staying on as coach at newly-promoted Saddleworth Rangers for their 2019 campaign in National Conference League, division one.

It is great news for the Shaw Hall Lane club after Rogers oversaw a remarkable transformation of the club’s fortunes.

When Rogers succeeded Craig Farrimond in April, Rangers were bottom of the second division and seemingly certainties for relegation after losing their first seven games.

In the next six months, Rogers helped the team win 10 of its remaining 15 games to claim a spot in the play offs where they beat Crosfields and Wigan St Jude’s, both away, to clinch promotion.

But at the end of the season Rogers took time out before deciding to stay on, citing family and work considerations.

Rogers explained son Latham players for the U8s while he also coaches the U15s for who elder son Fenton plays for.

Fenton is also a scholar at Huddersfield Giants’ academy and says rugby takes up six or seven days a week in addition to holding down a demanding job as a director of a Manchester-based property management company.

Rogers, who played professional rugby for Widnes, Swinton, Rochdale Hornets and Oldham, said: “I wanted a break and some down time at the end of the season.

“If I do a job, I always give it 100 per-cent which is why I wanted time to make sure I could give that.

“I am staying on and also lucky to have some good guys around me on the coaching staff, the likes of Ian Sinfield, Danny Attersall, Phil Wood and Aaron Moore who have all bought in what I am trying to do.”

Rogers, who was also a former assistant coach at Swinton Lions, is hoping to keep the promotion-winning team together and strengthen for their first division campaign.

He said: “I have heard names who may be joining us but will wait to see who turns up to sign.

“It is difficult in amateur rugby as, apart from injuries, you lose players because of work and family, holidays and stag events.

“As much as I prepare them, often it is a case of who turns up on the day.”

Rangers will start light training in December and step it up in January as they have a Standard Cup tie against Higginshaw to play before the end of January. The league campaign begins in March.

Rangers celebrated their promotion-winning campaign with a presentation night for the open-age and U18s at the club, with 130 enjoying a sit-down meal.

Loose-forward Gareth Morgan was named man of steel and players’ player of the year to cap a memorable campaign in which he also represented Lancashire.

The versatile Adam Jeffries, who can play wing, centre and second row, was named first team player of the year.

Winger/centre Lewis Adams, who played a number of first-team games, was second team player of the year.

Andy Shuttleworth was named U18s man of steel, Billy England the players’ player of the year and Ben Foster the coach’s player of the year.

And off the field, Lars Haigh was clubman of the year for his work fronting the tots’ section with around 50 children aged between three and seven attending sessions each Monday.

Rogers said: “Playing for the first team is what everybody aspires to, but without the youngsters we would not have open-age teams or a club.

“The youth section is really big and it is important to build from the bottom.”

Phil Wood landed the unsung hero award for his tireless work.

There was also a junior presentation night for tots to U16s.

The youngest players were presented with future star medals while U8s upwards received a Rangers’ rucksack so they look smart on matchdays next season.

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