Girking hopeful of finishing in top half

Auryn Murray against Kirkby Lonsdale
Auryn Murray against Kirkby Lonsdale

Bridlington’s director of rugby Rich Girking believes his squad is more than capable of delivering a top-half finish in Yorkshire One this season.

A positive pre-season, which has seen training sessions with Blast Fitness and the town’s boxing club, has boosted morale in the camp.

And a 24-17 win over Cumbria touring team Kirkby Lonsdale in their first friendly on Sunday, means Girking believes his side can improve on last season.

“We are looking OK, we have been training hard and I have been quite impressed.

“When people hear ‘pre-season’ they think of running round a rugby pitch and no sign of a ball, but we have done things a bit differently this time. The feedback has been really good,” he said.

“Damien Grant and Andy Potts were brilliant at the boxing club and Steve Tighe from Blast did a great job too.”

Girking’s son Ryan has taken over as first XV captain from Ali Sutton, who is staying with the team and earned praise from the boss.

“Ali did a great job for us over the last two seasons but he wanted to let someone else have a go.

“Ryan is 26 now and has been playing in the first team since he was 17 and I know he will do a good job.”

Regan Stirk and Martin Robinson have both moved on but two new props have arrived, Rob Warner and giant New-Zealand born forward Wesley Langkilde.

Another two overseas players are due at Dukes Park in September and Girking believes they will need extra strength to not have to worry about the threat of relegation.

“They are reconstructing the leagues at the end of the season and Yorkshire One will go from 14 teams to 12, so there is a chance four teams could be relegated.

“However, I am pretty confident with the team we have that. We under-achieved last season, and I will be diappointed if we don’t get into the top half.

“I expect Doncaster Phoenix to be strong, because they have a massive budget and have brought a lot of players back, so they are one name that jumps out.

“But we won there last season and I don’t hold any fears about going anywhere.”

Girking will again be assisted by head coach Mark Floyd, while Tom Brown has been named second XV captain.

Steve Manton continues as manager of the seconds, with a new third team taking shape under the leadership of Steve Carl and captain Adam McTurk.

Sunday’s friendly saw Bridlington run in four tries.

“It was a good run out but it made us realise we are still a bit rusty and there is more work to be done before our first competitive game,” added Girking.

Off the field, chairman Gordon Morrice is staying in his post for another season and youth development officer Jack Bell has been retained for a further 12 months.