PENDLE Phoenix haven’t so much as risen from the flames but have soared to success.
The club, formed following a player breakaway from Colne and Nelson RUFC in 2005, have been something of a surprise package since joining the SSE Rugby Union League last season.
In its inaugural campaign, Phoenix finished in fourth place in North Lancs Division Two and are in the same position with an outside chance of gaining promotion.
This follows a successful spell in the Miller Homers League which included several promotion winning seasons.
Such has been the club’s rise up the rugby ranks, Phoenix may not even be ready to compete at the higher level – but player/coach Benjamin Peverley says that is a problem they will deal with should it arise.
“We are having a very good season and of course we would love to win promotion,” said the 31-year-old, a founder member of Phoenix.
“We know there may be problems should we go up but if we are in with a shout of promotion that we will definitely be going for it.”
But by Peverley’s own admission, the club, which plays its home games on Nelson’s Hodge House, is improving quicker on the pitch than it is off it.
Ideally, Pendle would have better facilities before moving to the next stage.
“At the moment we don’t have our own clubhouse or changing rooms so that is a bit of a problem,” said the second row forward.
“Ideally, you want to go up to the next division with those things in place. But plans are well under way and we have been very busy fundraising and hopefully with some RFU assistance we will be able to move to the next stage.”
Pendle are currently in same division as bitter rivals Colne and Nelson but Peverley believes the breakaway actually benefited both parties.
“There is some animosity as you would probably expect,” added the former Primet High School pupil.
“There was a group of about 10 of us who didn’t like the ways things were going so we decided to go it alone.
“Naturally, the club didn’t agree with us but I think we would both agree that we have both come out of it the better.”
On the pitch, Pendle are fourth in the table with 41 points, 14 behind second-placed Ashton-under-Lyne but with a game in hand.
And with players such as Carl Wiseman, Jonny Harper and Jamie Finucane – all former Lancashire players – Peverley, himself an ex county and North of England player, believes anything is possible.
“We have the players to go on a brilliant run and win promotion,” he said.
“If we can put out our strongest side then we are a match for most teams but unfortunately we don’t have that strength in depth.
“So when players are not available, we struggle.
“We don’t have the biggest of squads and currently don’t have a second team to call on players if required,” he added.
“So that is something we are looking to change.”
The club is hoping to form a Second XV and also start up a mini colts section in time for the start of next season.
But whatever happens in the remaining 10 games of the season, the future is looking bright for Pendle Phoenix RUFC.