SADDLEWORTH Rangers have admitted Wes Rogers’ shoes will be hard to fill as they begin a search for a new coach.Rogers has stood down after 16 eventful months in charge at Shaw Hall Bank Road where Rangers experienced promotion and relegation.
He admitted what was initially a short-term appointment turned into something more permanent than envisaged.
But with son Fenton signing for Huddersfield Giants and with work, family commitments and coaching Rangers Under-16 side, he felt the time was right to step aside.
However, Wes said he is keen to stay on at Rangers in some lesser capacity.
When Rogers, 41, took charge in May 2018, Rangers were bottom of division two of the National Conference League.
But in a remarkable turnabout, Rogers guided them to promotion four months later.
Rogers, who was a pro for Widnes, Swinton, Rochdale Hornets and Oldham, explained: “When I took over all I set out to do was to help put the club in a better place and ensure they were safe from relegation.
“I didn’t intend to stay but, after we were promotion, I thought it was only right to stay.”
This season ended in disappointment as Rangers were relegated on the last day of the season, despite beating Stanningley.
Rangers only won three of their opening 14 games in division one and looked certainties to be relegated.
But six wins in the last eight games almost saw Rangers pull off a great escape.
Rogers reflected: “We were so near and yet so far from staying up, but we were probably not consistent enough over the 22 rounds.
“It was not meant to be, but we kept fighting to the end of the season.“In the last half dozen games we achieved the continuity and consistency we had lacked.
“That was down to all our big hitters being available to play, the likes of Gareth Morgan, Gavin Dodd, Adam Jeffrey, Matthew Bottom and Chris Hough.”
Rogers also praised the players for the spirit they have shown during the season.
He said: “While we have been inconsistent the effort has been unbelievable.
“The good thing is that we competed in every game and were never heavily beaten.
“From a coaching aspect, I could not have asked for more from the players in terms of effort.”
Rogers pointed out it was also great that around eight U16 players, including Ben Killan, got to play open-age rugby.
And he added the club is in a healthy position moving forward.
Dave Tyrrell, speaking on behalf of the committee, said: “Wes has done a fantastic job getting us promotion last year and we were unfortunate not to stay up.
“He has brought structure to the club and also to training and been a real asset. We are gutted he is leaving because he will be a real loss to the club.
“The biggest challenge is to find someone equal to replace him.”
• The U15s became North West Counties League, division two champions after beating Mayfield in the play-off final.
Fenton Rogers was named man of the match as Rangers’ Under-16s beat Newton Storm at Blackbrook in the final of the Lancashire Cup.
It was a great achievement because they only had a bare minimum of 13 players because of injuries.
The U14s lost their Lancashire Cup final going down to Rylands, also at Blackbrook.
The U15s have been busy raising funds for next summer’s trip to Toronto.
They recently held a fundraising gala dinner at The White Hart, Lydgate, and a comedy night at The Royal George, Greenfield.
There was also a fundraising night at the club with rugby league legend Bobbie Goulding.
Money from tickets sales went to Rangers’ club funds and money on the night for the Toronto trip.