Rugby Union: Sheffield Tigers looking up after lifting National League Three North trophy

Terry Owen-Smith, National 3 North League Secretary, presents the trophy to Sheffield Tigers Biff Pearson and Ian Wragg, President. Picture: Marie Caley
Terry Owen-Smith, National 3 North League Secretary, presents the trophy to Sheffield Tigers Biff Pearson and Ian Wragg, President. Picture: Marie Caley
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Sheffield Tigers lifted the National League Three North trophy on Saturday, despite a slim defeat to mid-table Ilkley. The Dore Moor-based side managed 22 victories from 26 matches and had mathematically won the title with two games remaining.

Paul Walker, press secretary for the Sheffield Tigers, said: “We set out clear goals at the start of the season and having finished third in the previous season, the only real option was to go one better and get promotion.

Sheffield Tigers RUFC pictured celebrating with the trophy after their match against llkley. Picture: Marie Caley

Sheffield Tigers RUFC pictured celebrating with the trophy after their match against llkley. Picture: Marie Caley

“The boys have done brilliantly by achieving that. We kept the nucleus of the squad together, kept the same coaching staff and brought in one or two players to add to the team

“Looking at the club as a whole, our first and second teams have been promoted, our second team have a cup final and the first team are in the Yorkshire Cup final on May 19.

“Two promotions, Two cup finals, you cannot ask for better than that.

“Our aim for next season is to establish ourselves in the National League 2 North. I know our coach, Thiu Barnard, is very ambitious and will be aiming for a top six finish. We will certainly not be going into the league just as journeymen.

“We have only lost one game in the league at Dore Moor this season and next season we want it to be a fortress where teams are scared to go to. If we can pick up a few wins on the road as well, that gives us a mid-table finish and we build from there.”

Sheffield RUFC also ended their season with a loss; away at Huddersfield YMCA. The defeat means Sheffield end their season seventh in the league, but only six points away from third place.

Jason Soden, director of rugby at Sheffield, said: “We had a lot of forced changes due to injuries, but that did mean we had the chance to play some of our younger players. 
“We did not really get into the game for the first half-hour, which gave Huddersfield the opportunity to get some points on the board. The result was disappointing.

“I think we were riding high in second and third in the league for a lot of the season.

“We just picked up a couple of injuries, hit a bad run of games and have ultimately failed to bounce back from that.

“We were hoping to take some momentum into next year but we will build that up ourselves during pre-season training.

“I am still confident we will have a good season next year.”