Skipton coach Walton to make his mark

Mark Walton is looking to boost Skipton's fortunes

Mark Walton is looking to boost Skipton's fortunes Buy this photo

First published in Sport

Skipton Rugby Club’s new coach, Mark Walton, is looking forward to tackling the job of reviving their fortunes.

The Sandylands outfit has suffered two successive relegations and finds itself in Yorkshire Division Four.

Now 32-year-old Walton, who has been player-coach at Halifax for three seasons, is planning to reverse the downward trend.

He will start working for the players when they return to training on June 5, and the former Dinnington, Sheffield, Bedford and Burley scrum-half believes he has something to build on. He said: “I saw the team play a couple of times last season and they played with a lot of spirit.

“Skipton also has a lot of keen young players and I am sure that with a bit of shape and organisation we can improve results.

“I see no reason why, in a couple of years, we cannot get back to Yorkshire Two. I believe in having a good work ethic and I will endeavour to make things interesting for the players.

“We won’t be running up hills or doing bleep tests because many of the players already go to the gym or run to get fit. We might do something entirely different, like pilates. I also want to work on the skills and giving the team a better shape defensively.”

Walton has admitted that after three years at Halifax working to arrest a more rapid decline than Skipton’s, he is ready for a new challenge.

“I feel that after three years the players were probably getting tired of hearing my voice, and it was also the right time for me to take on a new challenge.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Halifax, but when the Skipton job came up I saw it as a great opportunity.

“The committee are working hard to get things right off the field and I am ready to sort out the playing side.”

Walton is expecting to bring in a forwards coach shortly and is enlisting the help of former Halifax Rugby League coaching staff member Lee Greenwood to work on defence.

He added: “I believe it is important to have different viewpoints and Lee’s experience of rugby league will be a big plus for us.

“I am sure the players will find it all a lot more interesting as we look to adopt structures and patterns of play that will help us to improve our results.

“I firmly believe that we can start to look ahead with optimism.

“The club as a whole has a lot of things going for it and now we have to get things right on the pitch. It’s a fascinating challenge which really excites me.”

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