With the Lancaster Cats Rugby Union side looking like they will be left out in the cold, 2011/12 looks to be a huge season for their feline neighbours from the across the codes; the Lancaster Lynx Rugby League Club.
The Lynx will be looking to build on some good performances last year, having made the semi-finals of the cup and narrowly missing out on the final to MNU Cheshire. The club finished fourth out of eight teams in the league, winning three games and losing four. By the time the cup approached they had proven their ability to work well as a team and next year promises to be even better.
The club has undergone much change for this coming season with a new captain in ex-Hull KR Academy player Max Brown and the loss of the chairman Rob Nixon and vice captains Rich Mcleod and Dave Swaysland. Many of the lads who played together last season will be returning alongside the arrival of freshers to produce what will hopefully be some exciting rugby in the coming season.
The Lynx did remarkably well last season to gel together despite such an early start, with the club given little more than a week to recruit and train a team to face Chester in their opening fixture. They lost their first game 40-16 but from then on showed gradual signs of improvement.
Captain Max Brown told SCAN, “we continued to build on our performances and confidence and although we were not winning and took a few ‘batterings’ as it were, we were learning that a well-earned victory would come with time. Players started to gel, I think this was due to more training sessions and social events and people were becoming more confident on the field and with their team mates.”
It was away at Edgehill that the team scored their first victory, snatching the win by four points. Despite an away loss to Manchester, the Lynx then went on to score back-to-back victories at home to Manchester and away to Bangor in the last game of the league season despite the loss of many of influential players to injury.
It was in the cup that the club’s hard work really payed off. Their first cup game saw them play away against a determined York St John’s side in a breathtaking game which finished 16-17 to Lancaster. A last minute penalty in the game allowed York to equalise, taking the game to extra time and the golden point. A break down the right wing from Lancaster’s Nathan O’ Connor was then stopped by a high tackle, giving Lancaster the penalty which Rich McLeod slotted over for the victory.
Captain Brown summarised the victory as one of the greatest moments of his rugby career. The quarter-final against Hull saw the Lynx continue to play some aggressive attacking rugby, sealing a convincing win. The semi-final looked like Lancaster’s for the taking when they learned they would be playing MNU Cheshire, a team they had already beaten. A poor first half showing cost Lancaster dearly and despite improvement in the second half, Lancaster could not overturn the deficit, slumping to a 42-16 defeat.
With Lancaster’s Rugby Union Club facing a prolonged ban, the Lynx have emerged as one of the figureheads of rugby at Lancaster alongside last year’s winners of the Team of the Year, the Lancaster Rugby Union Women. There is sure to be a great increase in popularity of Rugby League at Lancaster next term which the club should thrive on. With a pre-season game against the old boys already in the pipeline, one thing is certain; The Lynx mean business.