Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MAKING PROGRESS; Better Times Ahead, Says Boro Coach Local Rugby

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MAKING PROGRESS; Better Times Ahead, Says Boro Coach Local Rugby

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW WILKINSON

OUTGOING Middlesbrough player/coach Richard Horton feels the club is on the up - despite the first team spending much of the season in a relegation scrap.

They go into tomorrow's final game safe from the drop, and Horton, 37, is sure better times lie ahead. "Most of what we wanted to achieve in the last year has happened." he said. "I did feel that the first team would do better, but everything else has gone to plan.

"The third team has won their league, the second team could win theirs, the fourth team has been successful and sometimes we have fielded five teams.

"So overall I'm happy with the club this season. It is set up for the future. The first team will mature. We have cut the gap between the first and second team. They are now linked and second team players are progressing.

"We have also cut the gap between colts and senior rugby, so we have achieved what we set out to do and bridge gaps. All of our teams won last Saturday, so we are on the up."

Horton, who joined Boro as a junior, has shown commitment as a player and coach and feels the time is right to step down.

And skipper Richie Barker, with work commitments in Scotland, leaves at the same time. He too is optimistic about Boro's future.

"We have young lads like Callum Foley and Michael Thornburn doing well in the first team," he said, "lads who started the season in the seconds are now first team regulars.

"Our director of rugby Bernie Coyne is doing a great job, and as the season went on we turned narrow defeats into victories. The club can push on."

Tomorrow at Pocklington Horton plays his last game, Lewis McSween and Rhys Kilbride play at centre, and Olly Hodsgon comes into the forwards, Billingham have a tough final game in a good National Three North season, in which they will finish in mid-table, their highest ever league position.

They host second in the table Harrogate.

Guisborough host Acklam in the final league game of the Durham and North One season - though Guisborough look set to have one more game, a promotion play-off against Huddersfield YMCA. …

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