New Ripon RUFC head coach Peter Taylor admits he is ‘loving life’ at his new club after taking up an SOS call from close friend Ian Hassall in the summer.
Hassall, Ripon’s director of rugby, had overseen a dip in fortunes for the Mallorie Park side which had seen them slip into Yorkshire Two, but Taylor’s appointment has breathed new life into the club and the player-coach has every intention of staying for the long haul.
“I’m loving it,” he enthused.
“Life at Ripon is really good at the moment and I’m really proud to lead these players every week.
“I’m giving 100 per cent to the club and it feels like we’re starting a really exciting journey together.
“We had a tough start but the last seven weeks have been fantastic.”
After losing 53-0 at Keighley in mid-September, a loss which left them rock bottom of the division they were relegated to last year, the North Yorkshire outfit have won five of their last seven matches, losing by just three and four points respectively in their two defeats and, after a hard-fought 17-10 win over Old Rishworthians, Taylor is brimming with confidence.
“Last Saturday was a tough game. It was heavy underfoot so it was almost impossible to play free-running, open rugby but it was a good win.
“We were really pleased with how the boys battled hard and stuck to their task and thankfully we managed to get over the line.
“It’s been seven games since we lost 53-0 at Keighley and it’s been a fantastic turnaround. We’re delighted with how everyone’s responded.
“It’s been a great run and we’re eighth in the table so we feel comfortable with where we are at the moment.
“But we don’t tend to look at the table much,” he added.
“We know we’re playing well but there’s no pressure to do big things this year, it’s just about putting the effort and performances in and seeing where it takes us.”
On the back of a fine recent run, Taylor, who has played three of the last four games but concedes he is looking to reduce his playing time going forward, says he is relishing the prospect of the ‘perfect’ game as he takes his side to Pontefract this weekend.
“Saturday is almost the perfect game for us,” he said.
“They’re third in the league so it should be a good test to see where we’re at as a team. We love away games too, all the lads enjoy being together so it should be a good trip out.
“We’re just looking to enjoy the challenge and we’ll see what the day brings
“But whatever happens on Saturday, I’m certain we’ve got a great future ahead of us.”