HEAD coach Scott Rhodes is targeting back-to-back promotions for Heworth ARLFC after the club were elevated to the National Conference League division two.

The NCL's decision to promote Heworth up a tier comes after the withdrawal of premier division outfit Underbank Rangers, with one club from the divisions underneath stepped up as a result.

Heworth were chosen as the side to rise out of division three after a successful 2021 season which saw them win their regionalised group, despite being the lowest ranked side.

Rhodes now sees no reason why the Villagers cannot build on their recent triumph and achieve another promotion.

“It’s great news," said the former York City Knights star and ex-Scotland international.

“We had a fantastic season this year, we’re only getting stronger, our juniors are only getting better, so why not push up another level?

“It’s not the way we would have liked to have done it, because you want to win the titles along the way.

“Now we’ve got to go into this division full of confidence that we can win it.

"We haven’t lost many players so hopefully we’ll do another job on this division.”

Reflecting on the success of 2021 for Heworth, Rhodes was asked about his side defying the odds.

“Well, I did call it, didn’t I?" he quipped.

"I did tell everyone at the start of the year, when everyone was feeling sorry for us, that we had the team to do really well.

“The credit has to go to the players, they’re the ones who go onto the field.

“But that season has gone now. We’ve got to look forward to 2022 and I know the players are really looking forward to it.

“We can’t wait to get going now in pre-season and then getting stuck into division two.”

While excited by the prospect of promotion, Rhodes admitted he was disappointed to see the end of the regionalised league structure which was introduced amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I thought that system worked brilliantly," said the Heworth boss.

"It cuts out a lot of travel for teams that don’t do so well financially.

“The derby between ourselves and Acorn, there must have been 1,500 people there. It was absolutely electric.

“I’ve played rugby since being seven-years-old and I’ve never experienced anything quite like that.

“It was brilliant for the city and people still talk about it now when I’m out and about.

“I loved that regional system, but we’ve got to listen to the NCL.”