Jamie Fields: Our goal is to retain the crown.
There are very few alternatives which could rival the meteoric rise of Hunslet Club Parkside from obscurity to greatness. Hunslet Club Parkside became the talk of the NCL, having finished the 2018 campaign as unbeaten champions. Winning the National Conference Premier Division is one thing, but winning it without losing a single game is truly legendary.
The NCL Premier Division is no mean feat. Serving as the highest level of amateur rugby, the Premier Division is littered with ex-professionals, or ex-fringe players who have immense talent but for one reason or another didn’t quite make it as a fully fledged professional. This is what makes the NCL a very exciting and competitive competition, an example of this can be seen recently when Hunslet Club Parkside defeated Championship outfit Featherstone Rovers.
I recently caught up with Parkside Captain, Jamie Fields. When we spoke mid-way through last season the story was recent promotions, dreams and goals. You can read our previous piece by following the link at the end of this article. You can also watch Hunslet Club Parkside in action on our Youtube channel!
Our latest conversation was very different to the first. The new kids on the block are now on top, but what does 2019 have in store for the newly crowned kings of Amateur Rugby League?
Here’s what Jamie Fields had to say to GRM SPORT:
What was your biggest achievement as a team and as an individual last season?
“ Obviously achieving the unthinkable, winning the league and being minor premiers was great but topping it off by beating a great West Hull team in the semi and final of the play-off series was immense! Indescribable really, it didn’t sink in for a good while!
“On a personal note, 2018 turned out to be a big year! Being selected for Great Britain then to be named Captain of a touring side is a massive honour for any individual no matter what level you are at. I went on to win the first ever joint player of the year with a team mate Jamie Bradley, having gone to the same primary school and lacing our boots up in the corner every week. We sit together week in week out, so to win an award with a best mate was the biggest personal achievement in 2018. Ultimately non of this would have been achievable without my teammates at Hunslet. I could name more than 10 players in our team who are all leaders and winners in their own right, and also good enough for selection for rep rugby.
When Siddal were on top they lost a lot of key players to retirement and other Rugby opportunities. Has Parkside lost any key players to other clubs?
“ No, not lost any to other clubs or code switches but my partner in crime has gone, Luke Pettman, younger than me but helped bring on my game so much. Luke is a massive loss to us in the middle, but time moves on and people have bucket lists etc. We also lost George Clarke to a 6 month army tour who’s a big loss for us. But we will still be looking to replicate last years success
Are there any youngsters coming through this season?
“ Honestly mate there’s loads! Obviously you know Craig Mcshane (brother of Castleford Tiger’s Paul McShane), there’s the youngest of them all Jack ,he’s a 9 like Paul, keep your eyes on him! Aaron York has come along from Wakefield academy, James Healy has come back along with Marcus Elliot. We’re looking good in depth, but as you know stepping in at Premier level could be difficult but I’m sure Paul , Martin and Sam will get it right! The average age is around 27 so we’re looking good!
How important was the pre-season Yorkshire Cup for the club?
“ I’m not really sure to be honest ,it was great for the club but playing three big games back to back against pro clubs after four sessions really took its toll on the boys, but if we can keep the tempo up as we did in those games it will put us in good stead for the future. We struggled to get friendlies from amateur clubs so it came at the right time, given the chance again we would jump at it obviously, just need to get more training sessions in the bank
Finally, What are you hoping to achieve this season?
“ As a squad retain our crown first and foremost! Anything less will be a failure in my opinion, if you don’t want to retain something there’s no hunger. We strive to be the best. and the hunters have become the hunted! It’s an even tougher year for us, we just want to compete at the highest level in the best games. As a club we want to put something in place for when the older lads retire and blood the young ones coming through, creating a pathway if you like. Overall, I think the squad’s talented enough and got enough depth just becomes a question of how much do we want it?