6th October 2018, 08:20 | ncl

What a Year the NCL has enjoyed!

What a Year the NCL has enjoyed!

By Trevor Hunt, NCL Chairman.

What a season, what a year for the Kingstone Press National conference League!

And it all comes down to what I am sure will be a thrilling conclusion this afternoon at the LD Nutrition Stadium when the Champions of the Premier Division will be crowned!

To many, the amazingly unique record-breaking season of Hunslet Club Parkside, that has seen them win all 22 of their League games, should be enough for the Champions trophy to be theirs.

But to many more, the end of season Grand Final to determine the Champions is the icing on the cake, and they know that the ultimate trophy goes to those who battle their way to that Grand Final and win it!

Today, West Hull will be looking to end Hunslet's perfect record, and to avenge the 9-2 play off defeat of a couple of weeks ago, that extended the Parkside winning run by yet one more game.

West Hull bounced back to see off Egremont Rangers last week and thereby claim their Grand Final place and a rematch with Parkside, that enables the Humberside giants to try and add a fourth Grand Final success to those of 2004, 2013 and 2014.

It's a tall order and Hunslet Club Parkside's achievements speak for themselves as they have set a record that can only be equalled and never be beaten.

They are a superb side, superbly coached and with exceptional players who do themselves, the club and the game proud - as indeed does everyone who is connected with the Kingstone Press National Conference League.

That includes our sponsors and partners, and in particular Kingstone Press who have sponsored the League for a fourth-successive season, and who are seemingly seeking more. It is a terrific relationship that we have and we sincerely hope it can continue.

This year, we welcomed Rhino sports and Arnold Clark as partners in a kit-supplying deal that many of the clubs have fully endorsed.

Their support is invaluable as we head into a second year of a three year deal, and we look forward to continue working with them as we thank them for their invaluable support.

Last but not least, this season's innovative televising of NCL matches on FreeSports, with the assistance of RugbyAM and the effervescent and infectious enthusiasm of Alex Simmons and Jamie Jones-Buchanan, has taken this League competition to a new level, and hopefully that will continue next year and beyond.

It has brought the NCL into so many homes that would not otherwise have seen it, and the feedback we get is very much that they like it. Who would have thought that we would have Community Rugby League on TV on a weekly basis? It has been terrific.

But now the season is almost over and although the Grand Final has to be decided, and the promotion play-off place from Division One that involves Leigh Miners and Milford Marlins, precedes it, we are already planning for 2019 and beyond.

Our thanks to Davide Longo and all his staff at Featherstone Rovers, the RugbyAM team, the RFL staff and volunteers, the match officials, teams and coaches, the NCL Management Committee and in particular the long-suffering NCL Administrator Alan Smith for all their efforts!

Congratulations to all the winners, commiserations to all the losers, but hopefully you have all enjoyed the taking part.

Make sure you are part of the NCL for 2019, in a year that wil get even better!

Trevor P Hunt.