Before I give this update, may I first just say how sad the news was of Ben Heaton’s passing at such a tender age. A complete shock and I am sure you will join me in offering our sincere condolences to all Ben’s family and friends at this very difficult time. R.I.P. Ben.
As we enter the second half of the season and have just returned to the Shay for our first home game in 5 weeks, I thought it an opportune time to give you all an update as to where we are at both on and off the field.
On the field, the Men’s team have some work to do to cement a place in the play off’s, in what is probably the most competitive Championship since our time in it. Losing several key games by close margins has fortunately been countered by others around us also slipping up.
We can’t and won’t rely on that to keep us in the top 6 going forward and I know Simon and his coaching staff, and of course the players, are working extremely hard to ensure we build towards the end of season play offs and try make an impression on them this season! Of course, we also have the 1895 Cup semi-final game away at London which has a tantalising prize of a trip to Wembley.
Our Women’s team are having it tough this season but again lots of hard work and commitment to try put this right as the season progresses. Our Male and Female Academy teams, partnered with Calderdale College, are going well and continue to grow.
Our Super League Champion Wheelchair team have now been joined by a newly formed development Wheelchair team this season, on the back of the RL World Cup success. Finally, we have recently formed an LDRL side that has caused a great deal of excitement for all involved with it.
I am sure you will agree with me when I say how proud we all should be, as a Club, that we can boast SEVEN teams playing rugby for the Halifax Panthers, embracing inclusivity and diversity by providing rugby for all. Huge thank you to all who are involved in making this happen.
Off the field – your support financially has been invaluable to the Club and very much appreciated by all the Board – especially in these very challenging economic times. On behalf of myself and the Board, a huge thank you.
It is nearly 9 months since the ownership of the Club changed hands and I must be honest and say it has been tough going financially. The legacy debt left and our current business model of having to go 5 weeks without home game revenue, coupled with the economic challenges we are all facing, has meant the Shareholders have had to divert their money to try help navigate these financial challenges.
Without wishing to be too melodramatic, -without this investment, the reality is, we may well not have had a Club! I am aware that several other Clubs are going through the same challenges, but we must focus on ensuring ours is able to navigate through and move forward. The Board really do hope you will continue to support the Club as you have done thus far.
Our 150 Years celebrations continue and the recent Legends evening was a brilliant night. The 150 Years Celebration film is still being made for release later in the year. Also, work is ongoing with a publisher for our 150 Year Commemorative Book, again for release later in the year. A long sleeved, heavier duty, more traditional Heritage shirt is also due for launch shortly.
Kara Colvin, Will Maher and Adam Tangata are doing some great work delivering several Community projects across the Town and our Community Clubs continue to go from strength to strength. We have added more new Commercial partners to our portfolio and are currently re vamping our 2024 packages.
The Trust & Cashfax continue to support the Club and do great work in raising funds. Your contributions to Squadbuilder do likewise – Ben Crooks joining us being the latest example of how that is working and is so vital for the future recruitment. There will be some new additions to key areas within the Club’s infrastructure to strengthen our position and improve our delivery. Further announcements to follow.
Work continues developing our IMG response plan driven by the Board.
We are building for SL and we need to continue doing the great things we do, on and off the field-as mentioned above.
If anybody wants to speak to me or any of the Board, please don’t hesitate to contact us or speak to us on match day. We are all happy to answer any questions where we can.
Yours in Rugby