WINNINGTON Park have appointed Shaun Underdown as new club captain for the 2020/21 rugby union season.

He replaces Dave Cross, who is stepping down as captain after four successful seasons at the helm.

Underdown, like his predecessor, has been involved at the club since joining the Mini and Junior section at the age of seven.

The first name on the first XV team sheet since he made his debut as a 17-year-old, Underdown previously captained one of the club’s most successful Colts teams and is relishing his new role and the challenges it will pose.

A popular figure at the club, the coaching team believe he can help build on recent success at the club so that they can start to challenge for the top positions in their League.

Coach Matt Farr said: “Shaun is a key player for Park and with his ability he can change a game.

“We don’t come across many better players than Shaun.

“His commitment is 100 per cent when playing or training and he will expect the same commitment from those around him.

“He will set the standard for the club.”

In accepting the role, Underdown said: “It is a great honour to be asked to be captain of the club and I will give everything to make a success of the role.”

Underdown and Cross have not only represented Park together for a number of seasons they are also great mates off the pitch.

Cross said: “While it is sad to no longer be captain of such a great club I cannot think of anyone better to be our new club captain.

“Shaun is a great player and a great mate and I will be supporting him fully in his captain’s role.”

Cross has overseen a difficult period in the club’s history following relegation to its lowest league position in 2015/16.

He has brought back some stability to the senior section of the club and re-created the spirit which has always been vital to its success.

Cross captained the first XV to reach county bowl finals in three successive seasons and was captain in their unbeaten league season which saw Park promoted to the North West Two league in 2018.

Over the past two seasons Park have re-established themselves in the league and the club’s long term aim is to progress to a higher level.

Cross has been a major factor in the club’s success in both his captaincy and as an ever present in the first XV.

He will continue to play for Park.

Relinquishing the captain’s duties will also give him some time to work on his new business venture – Wichcard – which he has set up with fellow first XV player Ryan Williams.

Farr said: “Dave has been a fantastic captain and player since I became head coach.

“He provides leadership on and off the pitch and sets an example to the other lads always giving 100 per cent commitment to the 1st XV and the club.

“We are pleased that Dave is going to continue to play and we hope that by having less responsibility he will have an even bigger influence with his performances on the pitch.”

President Brian Concannon said: “The club has turned itself around over the last three seasons and Dave has played a major part in this.

“Although no longer club captain Dave will continue to play and Dave and his family have been associated with the club for many years, we know this will continue.”

Club Chairman Paul Dean added another tribute to the former skipper.

“The club owes a great deal of gratitude for the work of Captain Cross over the past few years,” he said.

“However, the club coaches, committee and players are totally behind Shaun as our new Captain and we will all do everything we can to make it an enjoyable and successful experience for Shaun and the club.”

Although dates for the new season to commence are yet to be confirmed Park’s senior teams are training every Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm with some of the lads doing an extra session on Saturday mornings.

All training follows RFU guidance and is Covid secure. Park plan to be ready whenever they get the go ahead to resume rugby games.

The club are looking to welcome new players to the club regardless of ability.

Anyone interested in getting involved can make contact via the club website at or contact Dave Allcock on 077932 48310 or just turn up on a Tuesday or Thursday at 7pm.