Sheffield aim to keep springing surprises

Sheffield RUFC captain Andy Kelly organisers his forwards at a scrum vs Cleckheaton
Sheffield RUFC captain Andy Kelly organisers his forwards at a scrum vs Cleckheaton

Sheffield’s half-time report could well be summed up in six words ... well done, now keep it going.

The Abbeydale side have surprised a fair few sides - and themselves - in their first season in North 1 East and they’ll be looking to maintain their momentum when the season restarts on Saturday.

They’re currently in fourth place, with 45 points from 15 matches, just seven behind South Yorkshire rivals Wheatley Hills, over whom they’ve taken the bragging rights with a win at Abbeydale and an on-the-road draw.

Then come Middlesbrough on 53 points, nine points adrift of runaway leaders Billingham.

It’s a position Sheffield would gladly have taken at the beginning of the campaign and shows how their ‘coming together’ as a team, thanks in no small part to the coaching and organisational skills of head coach and club stalwart Nick Crapper, has started to reap dividends.

Skipper Andy Kelly is certainly happy at the way things have gone so far.

“We knew it was going to be difficult and a real challenge but we’ve established ourselves and had some really good results.

“Everybody has played their part but one of the big plusses has been the defence; they’ve been exceptional, while the forwards have done really well.

“Centre pairing Simon Tillyer and Dave McCabe have tightened things up and Joe Cribley’s switch to full back has worked well.

“It’s so far, so good but we’re not getting carried away as the main thing now is to maintain our performance levels after the Christmas and New Year break.

“We’re fourth at the moment and we would certainly have taken that at the start of the season. It would be great to finish in the top five and that’s what we’re aiming for,” he added.

One of the major factors has been the strength in depth of the squad as the club now turn out four senior teams and of these, the seconds have really started to make their mark.

Sheffield start 2012 on Saturday with a home clash against sixth-placed Durham City (2.15pm) who are just three points behind but have a game in hand and this is followed by a very tough away test at Billingham.