Scarborough RUFC coach Simon Smith has been putting his players through their paces ahead of their step up to North One East this season.
Smith recorded a superb promotion and Yorkshire Shield double in his debut season in charge at Silver Royd, and has been impressed with the turnout for early pre-season sessions so far.
He said: “The guys have been doing strength and conditioning sessions with Dave White since the middle of June, and then sessions with myself, Tom Harrison and Matty Jones for the last three weeks.
“We’ve had upwards of 20 lads at the sessions, which I’m very pleased with as it is still very early.”
Scarborough have confirmed two friendlies and are hoping to arrange a third as they prepare for life in a tougher division, the club have also deciding not to enter the Yorkshire Cup this season, instead concentrating their efforts on staying in North One East.
Smith’s side will tackle Stockport at Silver Royd on Saturday August 11, Hullensians visit on Friday August 17 and the club are trying to organise another friendly for the Bank Holiday weekend.
“We are building up to our friendlies against Stockport and Hullensians in August, and we’re looking to get another friendly lined up before we start the North One East season,” added Smith.
“We have decided not to enter the Yorkshire Cup for this coming season.
“We’re clear that our priority is to stay up in North One East and to do that we felt that we’d be better served not entering the competition.
“The club has waited so long for promotion from Yorkshire One, we’re determined not to become a club who bounce up and down between divisions.”
Smith isn’t expecting to bolster his squad greatly, but is delighted that he’s likely to have everyone who guided Scarborough up available again.
He added: “We’re hoping to have everyone from last season’s squad available again for this season, and we’ll be trying to make one or two additions to the group between now and the start of the season.
“I talk regularly with director rugby Mike Holder and Phil Stewart, and the aim is to consolidate this season. Anything on top of that is a bonus for us.
“It’d be nice to get off to a strong start to the season and pick up some wins on home soil at Silver Royd, that will be key this season - our home form.
“We won’t change our style of play in order to do that, we have to play to our strengths and use our pace, mobility and our explosive back row, who were exceptional last season.
“There’ll be some tough games along the way this season and teams will try to stop us, but we have to play to our strengths.”