TEAM MANAGER Frank Greaves has led Halifax-Huddersfield to victory in three of Yorkshire Inter-District Union's four championships in just two seasons in charge of both their teams.
And already the Huddersfield GC member has set his sights on completing a YIDU 'grand slam' by annexing the senior six-man team championship in 2020.
Halifax-Huddersfield juniors won the YIDU junior league last year, with seven wins out of seven, and complemented claiming that crown for the first time by succeeding in their level's six-man team championship this season – also for the first time in the union's history. The seniors then bridged a 25-year gap last month when they won their league for only the second time.
Asked about ambitions for next season, Greaves responded immediately: “There's one left to win, which is the team championship for the seniors. That's the one, but I've got a squad full of extremely dedicated, talented, tenacious individuals now who are enjoying what they are doing, so you never know what they might win.”
His senior side won five and drew one of their seven matches, their only defeat coming against Leeds at Howley Hall, and they placed third in the six-man team championship at The Oaks. The juniors were only denied a double when their Harrogate counterparts – whose senior side won at The Oaks – edged them on game difference.
Halifax-Huddersfield's transformation since deciding that Greaves would be in charge of both teams has been remarkable and building a bridge between the two has clearly played a part, as evidenced by the presence of Oliver Caton (Crosland Heath), Matt Holden (Lightcliffe) and Huddersfield's Harry Mowl and Ben Walker in both successful camps this year.
Indeed, the formula impressed Harrogate Union so much last season that they adopted it this – and between them the pair have claimed two titles apiece in 2019.
“It's nice that Harrogate have employed what we did last year when we had one guy running both teams,” said Greaves. “They had a restructure and they've obviously gone and won two this year.”
One thing about which Greaves is certain is that Sheffield – winners of seven of the last eight senior YIDU league titles and four in a row – will be redoubling their efforts in an attempt to ensure they do not go trophy-less in 2020. He expects Leeds to feature, too.
Halifax-Huddersfield are planning a celebratory evening involving both squads for some time this month when the enormity of the seniors' league win is likely to sink in for Greaves.
“I haven't been emotional yet over our league win although I did cry at Bingley [when the juniors won the team championship].
“The President [Gordon Abernethy] wanted me to go up and say a few words, but I said, 'I've got no chance, I'll just break down'.
“That junior championship at Bingley, the 35th playing of that, with all the talent we've had – we've had Chris Hanson and Jamie Bower go through, we've had Nick Marsh – and they'll have been in teams and yet we'd never won it. But we did.”