Pats are leagues ahead on their return to union
RUGBY league success in their debut season has given Old Patesians' rugby union side an added boost, believes team manager Mike Hughes.
Pats battered reigning champions Oxford Cavaliers into submission, winning 94-12 to lift the Scarborough Cup in the West of England grand final.
On the eve of the new union season, and with a pre-season friendly against Windsor tomorrow, the dominant win has benefited the cross-code players, ahead of their 15-man returns.
Hughes said: "They have an added repertoire of skills, more fitness, and the success has given them confidence.
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"There is a buoyant, positive feel in the club. They are now optimistic for union.
"Their final was the best performance of the season and shows how good they can be."
Pats lost their first two games of the season, one against the Cavaliers, but improved steadily, topping the league table at the end of the season.
Coach Giles Potter said the player approached the final in a professional manner and played a good brand of rugby.
"We had a very high skill level, and crucially managed to keep our error count low," he said.
"We were tactically accurate and executed the game plan to perfection. We had a creativity in our attacking play that Oxford could not cope with."
Hughes heaped praise on the players and said that they fully deserved their victory after a summer of hard work, but added that the role coaching brothers Giles and Dave Potter played had to be acknowledged too.
He added: "The result was a testament to the coaches, who have done a fantastic job.
"I'm taking nothing away from the players, who first and foremost worked very hard. The coaches had very talented union players and turned them into talented rugby league players.
"There are nuances to league that the players quickly got their heads around. Dave and Giles did brilliantly and the performance is a tribute to them."
Pats have launched a junior league section, in a bid to develop the long-term future of the game in the area.
Hughes was keen to emphasise that the senior success will not be a one-season wonder, and that plans are now afoot to lay the foundations of a successful rugby league club.
"We have Under-14 and Under-16 teams, and almost 50 boys have experienced league now," he said.
"We want an established growth of rugby league, and that will involved the Under-16 boys coming through. That will be key.
"We are very aware it is not just about the best 15 players but about developing the foundation. Junior success is also important.
"We are conscious of walking before we can run, we are going to sit down and have a chat, take stock and plan seriously for next season, as the lads begin union again, both fitter and sharper."