Sides should worry when playing at York, says Lee Denham

·3-min read
Toby Atkin sets up another York RUFC attack. Picture: Rob Long/York RUFC
Toby Atkin sets up another York RUFC attack. Picture: Rob Long/York RUFC

YORK RUFC head coach Lee Denham has emphasised that his team “need to make sure people are worried when they come to Clifton Park.”

York were able to secure a ninth-placed finish in their return to the North Premier division, winning nine games in the season.

Speaking about the jump to the North Premier, head coach Lee Denham described it as “huge.”

“At home we put some decent scores on teams, but a lot of these clubs have made their homes fortresses,” he said.

“It was only really the top teams that were able to win consistently away from home.

“When we played Wirral, we put 46 on them at our place, then went there and lost by a point.

“They have a different mentality at home compared to being away. If they want to stay in this league, they have to win their home games, or at least a large subsection of them.

“You can understand how these teams use their home grounds and it’s something we need to aspire to if we want to move anywhere other than the league we’re in, or stay in the league next year.

“We have to make sure that people are worried when they come to Clifton Park and that they know they’re in for a hard day.

“Everyone needs to be a little bit wary that they could be on a banana skin if they turn up at York.”

Though their home form was respectable, York struggled on the road for much of the campaign.

They were only able to win once away from home, losing 10 times and drawing one encounter.

“I think we had six losses by a point or two, with one score anyway,” reflected Denham.

“I think, obviously we’ve come from Yorkshire One and through North One East fairly quickly. Realistically, we never had to travel anywhere.

“It was 45 minutes, an hour maximum and then all of a sudden, week in, week out, we’re on a coach travelling maybe three hours, three and a half.

“I think it threw some of the players, I’m not sure they’d really ever done that. I think it was a learning curve for some of them.

“We’ve tried loads of different things, leaving as late as possible didn’t work. Leaving really early didn’t work.

“I think it’s just a mindset for the players, something we need to get better at and something we hopefully will get better at.”

The new season begins in September, with dates of fixtures due to be confirmed in mid-June.

Though York did not have a bad season by any means, there is always the potential to improve with new bodies coming into the team.

“Additions would be good, but I suppose there are a lot of clubs at our level that pay money whereas we don’t,” noted Denham.

“We’ve got fingers crossed for a couple of walk-ins. We play a good, expansive style of rugby. We’re not boring, we don’t just give it to a forward and chuck it up.

“We use our width and try to play into space. There’s been a couple teams that have told us they like the way we play.

“We’re talking to various parties at the moment, nothing has been signed, sealed and delivered yet, but hopefully some people come in to strengthen our team.”

York finished level on points with Wirral, but were able to amass a 15-point gap over Sandal who finished two places below them.

Looking towards the upcoming campaign, Denham stated, “I would like a really solid season, where we don’t lose games by a point.

“I’d like to be on the back end of a win and a couple of away wins, because it was really disheartening at times.

“You play good rugby and make some silly errors every now and again. We need to capitalise on everyone having that one year extra experience.

“Hopefully that’ll allow us to break some of our away ducts and get some wins under our belt.”

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