BECOMING head coach of Ossett Trinity was very much a family matter for Mark Barlow.
The Dewsbury Rams utility player has taken control of the Church Street team ahead of the 2012-13 season, continuing his family’s strong ties with the club.
The Barlows have been involved with Trinity almost since the club’s formation in 1958 and Mark, a former Wakefield Wildcats, Batley Bulldogs and York City Knights player, is well aware of his family’s Trinity history.
“My family have been involved with the club since the 1960s and I’ve been coming down to watch them since I was 16, it’s my local club,” he said.
“My uncles, Trevor and Peter, coached at the club in the 60s and Peter told me that I have a tough act to follow because he only lost one match in two years!”
Mark’s brother, Brett, has also been along to pre-season training and is set to feature next season.
It’s the 28-year-old’s first senior coaching job and he’ll be assisted by Gavin Westbury and Stuart Price.
The role will be a big step-up from his coaching role with Dewsbury Moor’s junior teams but Barlow is confident his experience of playing in Super League, the National Leagues and in France, with Lyon, will bode well.
He’s also well aware of Trinity’s problems from last season after attending a few matches and talking to his coaching assistant Price, who’s been playing at the club for eight years.
“I’ve been down to watch them because I’ve got friends playing for the club,” he said.
“They have the players here but they just didn’t seem to have the direction and a plan in place to do well, hopefully I can provide that.
“We started pre-season training two weeks ago and it’s been going very well.
“The first four weeks we’ll be doing a lot of conditioning-based training and the following four weeks we’ll work on some structures in time for the new season.
“We’ve got everything in place here. We have the coaches, we have the players and we have the committee backing the players and the coaching staff so it’s great.”
Barlow says 95 per cent of last season’s squad have stayed on and they’ll be bolstered by players from other local clubs keen to continue playing in the winter once the summer season comes to an end.
“We’ll have some lads joining us from Summer League teams such as Eastmoor [Dragons], Dewsbury Celtic and Bramley [Buffaloes] when their season finishes,” he said.
“I think there’s a small crossover but those lads are really keen to continue playing. It’s good for us because although they’ll have missed our pre-season they’ll already be up to scratch fitness-wise and ready for match action.”
Ossett played in the Pennine League Championship Division last season but still don’t know which division they’ll be plying their trade in this September owing to a possible league restructure.
A Pennine League meeting was held on Monday to discuss teams from the Central Yorkshire League entering the competition but there’s yet to be an official structure announced for the new campaign.
Ossett will host Upton ARLFC in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, August 18 (kick-off 2.30pm).
Trinity always welcome new players.
Training takes place every Monday and Thursday from 7pm at the club’s Church Street base.
Players are also being sought for the club’s recently-formed under-8s team, as well as other junior age groups on demand, as Trinity have one eye on the future.
Junior training takes place from 6pm every Monday and Thursday. Contact Ian Greenwood on 07887 975760 for more information.
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest sports news from around the district.