SEDGLEY Park began life under new head coach Scott Barrow in impressive style with a battling 30-20 win on the road against North West rivals Preston Grasshoppers in National League Two North.

Former St Helens rugby league star Barrow switched codes to play for Glasgow Warriors in a long playing career before stepping into coaching.

And after the summer departure of Matt Bebbington, Barrow was top of the wanted list for Sedgley’s hierarchy.

His acquisition was secured and he has been joined by assistant Dave Livesey, and the pair have already had an impact according to assistant coach, and Dave’s dad, John Livesey.

He told the Bury Times: “Scott has settled really well and he had already had an impact on the team.

“Matt left after moving to a new home on Cheshire that made the travelling more difficult so we looked at convincing Scott to come here and were delighted when he joined.

“He has made a big impression and is already making a difference alongside my son, Dave, and forwards coach, Jonny Roddam, who is still here.

“That was evident on Saturday when the team fought hard to win at Preston to get us off to a winning start.”

In what is traditionally a difficult proposition for the Tigers, two Steve Collins penalties got them off to a good start in Preston.

The home side hit back but by half time, Sedgley were 18-10 in front, thanks to tries from Thomas Coe and Jack Metcalf.

Yellow cards for Mark Goodman and James Harper inside five minutes reduced Sedgley to 13 men but they battled hard to stay in the game and two more tires for Jamie Harrison and Ben Black sealed an opening-day victory.

John Livesey added: “It is always difficult at Preston and I think they were convinced they were going to win.

“We started well with Steve Collins scoring a couple of penalties in between halfway and their 10-metre line.

“Then, they had a breakaway and scored the first try.

“In truth, our line-up didn’t function as well as it could have at first but a couple of decisions went against us as well when we had two yellow cards in five minutes.

“They got it to 23-20 and just three points behind going into the last 10 minutes but our lads stepped up as Ben Black got the decisive fourth try.

“Considering we had three 18-year-olds playing, the lads deserve huge credit – they all stepped up.

“We had prop James Harper, centre Jack Metcalf and second rower Sam Higginson who are all just 18.

“It was very pleasing and the defence won it for us on the day.

“The tackling was outstanding and the defence held them out before we got that fourth try.”

The winning start sees Sedgley joint top of the embryonic league table ahead of their first home clash against Yorkshire side Wharfedale at Park Lane on Saturday.

That will be another tough test, says John Livesey, especially without two key men.

He said: “Captain Bob Birtwell is away and Ben Black is also unavailable due to a family function so it will be tough but it gives others a chance to come in and stake a claim.”