ILKLEY RFC will have a new assistant coach this coming season.

Steve Boden, who was assistant coach of Yorkshire Carnegie last season, is now coach at Ilkley, with Rhys Morgan head of rugby.

Boden, 36, who was also assistant coach at Jersey RFC and is a former player for Doncaster Knights and Leeds Tykes, will divide his time between Ilkley and his coaching role with the Knights.

Former Ilkley coach Jimmy Lowes left Ilkley in April to join the coaching staff at Green King IPA Championship club Ealing Trailfinders.

Rhys Morgan, head coach of Ilkley RFC, said: “After losing Jimmy it’s a massive boost to get another quality coach and we hope it will encourage new players to the club.

“We have quite a stable set-up for the new season – it’s not a big year of change for playing staff.

“We will be introducing some new faces in the pre-season but are not ready to announce these yet.

“The only players who have moved on are Ben Waddington, who played half a dozen games for us last year, and Lewis Johnson - who didn’t play last year - he’s now got work commitments elsewhere.

“Ben Waddington has signed for Rotherham, having played a few games for us last year. Charles Morgan will not return to the squad until November at the earliest.

“Josh Stringwell, a centre from Guiseley, will be back in pre-season, and Swedish forward Hendrik Ek will be back playing at Ilkley next season.

“Prop Billy Nicholls may have to leave the club to pursue university studies in Newcastle.”

Last year, Ilkley had the fourth-best defensive record and fifth-best points difference in the league.

Ilkley chairman Mike Halling said: “We certainly achieved a higher level of performance than our eighth position reflects.

“As an amateur club, we have a little bit of uncertainty in that way – we don’t sign people contractually.”

Ilkley First XV will have two pre-season friendlies, Otley on August 17 and Pocklington on August 31, both at home.

The club’s North Premier league season begins at Stacks Field with a tasty derby against Harrogate.

Halling said: “That game’s a big deal for us. Obviously, Harrogate are one of the top four semi-pros, it will always be a tough match as they just missed the play-offs last season.

“We are about 15 per cent away from our original £380,000 target required for our clubhouse extension, aiming to build from May 1, 2020.

“Those three home games at the start of the season – Otley, Pocklington and Harrogate - should get us off to a great start, financially-speaking.”

Ilkley will also host The La Casita Ilkley Sevens, which will kick off at 11am on Saturday, July 13.

Sides from Waterloo and Blackburn will compete, along with local sides like Baildon and Guisborough.

So far, 15 men’s sides and five ladies’ sides have signed up.

Jack Mapleford will be rejoining Ilkley’s sevens squad from Huddersfield and Tom Milner will return from London.

Ilkley still have some spare slots available in their men’s sevens competition, so any teams wishing to take part should contact Rhys Morgan 07803 243194.

JAMES FOUNTAIN