ILKLEY will be hoping it’s third time lucky when they kick off the new North Premier League season on Saturday.

They face Kendal at Stacks Field and are looking to register a win after losing on the opening day of the past two campaigns to Sheffield Tigers and Billingham.

The mood in the Ilkley camp is good and head of rugby Rhys Morgan is expecting to be making some tough choices at tonight’s selection meeting.

He said: “This is the best squad we have had with much more depth. The added competition will mean there is plenty to consider when we pick our first team.

“We know that Kendal will present us with a stern test. They have a strong and experienced side which has been boosted by some good recruiting.”

He added: “Our preparations have been good and the lads are ready for another tough season.

“This is a very competitive league and our aim is to be challenging in the top half. I really believe that we have the ability to do that.

“We have consolidated at this level for two seasons and now we must try and kick on. I am confident that we have the structure in place and the personnel to continue to move the club forward.”

Morgan is relieved that the club has only a couple of injury worries. Winger Rob Rekis is recovering from a shoulder problem while new hooker Harry Wales from Otley is building up his fitness after a broken leg.

New skipper Elliot Morgan has been struggling with a virus this week but is expected to be fit and raring to go on Saturday.