WOOLSTON Rovers have confirmed a change of head coach for their National Conference League side.

Promotion-winning coach Billy Sheen, who guided the club into NCL Division One via a play-off final win last season, stepped down last week due to family and work commitments.

With the club keen to ensure continuity moving forward, Sheen’s assistant coach Liam Lawton was appointed as his successor with immediate effect.

His first game in charge came on Saturday as Rovers were beaten 34-20 by Leigh Miners Rangers at Monk Sports Club for their third straight loss.

However, Lawton was encouraged by the display of his players despite tries from Alex Pendlebury, Jackson Phillips, Dan Griffiths and Sean Kelly proving in vain.

“I was gutted for the lads as they gave everything out there and deserved to get something from the game,” he said.

“We thought we had got back in front late on but it was chalked off and we conceded two late tries.

“I thought the effort was excellent and if we can replicate this kind of display on a regular basis then we will start to get the right results.”

Warrington Guardian: Liam LawtonLiam Lawton (Image: Contributed)

Lawton has been with the club since 2019 and has worked his way through the coaching positions – he started as an assistant coach for the club’s ‘A’ team before stepping up to lead that side.

Sheen then drafted him onto his first-team coaching staff ahead of this season and as he leaves, Rovers chairman Warren Whalley is confident they have made the right choice in terms of his replacement.

“I would like to congratulate and thank Liam for stepping up into the NCL head coach position with our club,” he said.

“He has shown great commitment and dedication in a coaching capacity within our club over a number of seasons and is very enthusiastic about taking on this role.

“He has the full support of our committee and is also a popular choice with the players.

We now look forward to seeing Liam’s effort and guidance in taking our club forward on the field of play.”

Having rejoined the club ahead of the 2022 campaign to work alongside head of rugby Mal Holt and enjoyed a successful period, guiding the team to the NCL Division Two play-off final in his first season where they lost narrowly to Clock Face Miners.

Last year, though, they went one better by beating Shaw Cross Sharks in the promotion decider and Whalley has hailed his contribution.

“I would like to thank Billy for the time and effort he put in whilst coaching at our club,” he said.

“It was very much appreciated and I fully understand that his work and family commitments have made it difficult for him to continue with his coaching commitments.

“He has played an important role over the past three seasons and brought success to the side at the end of last season along with Mal Holt.

“I would like to wish Billy and his family well for the future and look forward to seeing him down at the club when time permits.”

Woolston are not due for action again until Saturday, May 4, when they visit Waterhead Warriors.