The Derek Beaumont Column: Champions again

Liam Kay goes over against Halifax. Photo: Paul McCarthy
Liam Kay goes over against Halifax. Photo: Paul McCarthy

Well there it is, champions for a third consecutive year and still with two games to go.

What a great achievement by Jukesy and the lads, especially under the circumstances that have had to be dealt with throughout the year and even at this present time.

It’s been some time since I watched a game from behind the sticks, and I have to say it is my favoured vantage point

Derek Beaumont

The performances of late can only provide confidence that we really are shaping up and coming together nicely, and largely with almost everyone in good shape with the return of Greg McNally against Sheffield expected on Friday.

Since that first-half display against London the team has really kicked on and the performance against Halifax was really pleasing. I watched the game from the North Stand with my youngest boy Rocky, who had wanted to experience it, and it was a fantastic atmosphere created by the loyal Leigh fans – one that I am sure if we can introduce more people to they would certainly return.

It’s been some time since I watched a game from behind the sticks, and I have to say it is my favoured vantage point, as you can see the spaces and how they are exploited much better.

The standard of our play undid Halifax, who are a very good side, with relative ease, and that comes at a good time as we approach the business end of the season approaching the Middle 8s.

It was also pleasing to see Dicko slot back in with a solid performance and Riddy back to his best linking up with Drinky well.

Jukesy now has the opportunity to look at a few different options and to keep everyone fresh in readiness for the big job ahead.

As Cookie alluded in his video session, we have won the battle but the war has only just begun, and it is the war we must win by winning the various battles.

Who would have thought when social media was going crazy, as we had lost our head coach and our opening game to Batley, that we would not only deal with all the turmoil and upset that ensued but would become stronger for it and be crowned champions, seven points clear with two games to go?

I have always said everything happens for a reason and I take the positives from everything.

In many ways that adversity has been the very ingredient that’s galvanised us and shaped us into what we are.

If we lose a player we get a better one, and likewise with staff. We have a ‘can do, will do’ mentality and are driven never to be beaten in our quest. As someone pointed out to me it’s like taking your driving test – you know you’re going to pass it in the end, you just keep improving and re-taking it until you do.

We are now shaping up into a really good business across the board and developing into a Super League club, and this will continue irrespective of what competition we are in.

We have a great off field team led by Matthew Chantler our CEO, who has really shaped the business with his legal skills and professionalism, heading up the excellent work of Amanda Lee and Neil Barker, who has been instrumental in bringing in new businesses to the club.

This week we saw local businesses Armstrong’s Interiors and Victoria Garage sponsor the club for the first time and the commercial side is really growing from strength to strength.

Our community department is exceptionally strong, led passionately by Hannah with the latest addition to her team Andy Reid, who needs no introduction.

We saw a fantastic armed forces day on Sunday demonstrating what a community club we are.

Our lottery department is very strong, led by Christine, and we have our mother Hen Smithy looking after the purse strings in between looking after the lads’ houses, cars and milk orders! Andrew Parkinson has just re-built the website, which is a significant improvement and much refreshed added to by a fantastic LCTV team, led by Fred Parkinson, a fantastic product which has grown immensely with the team he has at his disposal not to mention the fantastic commentary from Dave Parkinson and Joe Wood.

On the playing side we have a solid medical team all set with Jonny, Beth and Rob headed by Emma, arguably one of the game’s most experienced physios, and Dr John Morgan, another highly experienced man of his field.

Nathan and Woody have really gelled in the strength and conditioning department, with vast improvement there to see. We have a rock solid coaching team with Jukesy, Ando, Cookie and Kieron who really all get on well.

Kieron will hopefully be able to take up his role for the Middle 8s.

Then there are the lads. A great bunch of committed individuals some of whom are moving on at the end of the year and many who are contracted, but united to achieve that tag of being the first club to gain promotion to Super League under the new structure.

Let’s also not forget young Woody, Rudy and Frank, who are a big part of the team getting everything ready week in week out.

We have a fantastic team, a fantastic club, all rounded off by the most important part of all, YOU the fans who are magnificent in every aspect of support, following us vociferously around the grounds, standing loud and proud in support of YOUR club.

We are a fantastic TEAM with great belief and passion. Remember: Together Everyone Achieves More, and if we are successful it will be down to every single person’s efforts in doing what they do best, and that all comes from the top with an excellent board of Mike Latham, Steve Openshaw and our chairman Michael Norri,s without the three of whom we wouldn’t be where we are today.

I remember at the start when we won the shield three years ago, and a Featherstone fan said, ‘Enjoy it, you will never do what we have done and win it four years in a row’, to which I retorted, ‘You’re right mate – as you don’t compete for it in Super League’.

Oh how I hope I don’t end up eating my words on that one!

So we have a solid business and the bones of a Super League squad contracted for next year and are working very hard to secure the targets we have identified for next year to add some meat to the bones.

But don’t think it all just stops there. Yes we are champions and yes we believe we can compete in what will be a remarkably tough Middle 8s, but we also believe we can get better and I am also hunting with the cheque book.

We have 10 days and counting to see if we can give ourselves an even better chance of success.

Watch this space!