OTLEY have their eyes on the tittle prize, according to director of rugby Peter Clegg.

With just four weeks to go until the start of the new league season, the Cross Green-based club are looking ahead to picking up silverware next spring.

They are ‘fully focused’ during this pre-season and have targeted not just promotion, but the title, in the North Division - North Premier during the forthcoming season.

The Zebras, under head coach Kyle Dench, get their campaign under way with a home game against York on Saturday, September 4. Seven days later they host Preston Grasshoppers, with a trip to Macclesfield lined up for their first away trip of the season on September 18.

The York clash will be Otley’s first league game since the first lockdown was imposed in March last year.

They grabbed a 36-24 home win over Luctonians on March 14, 2020, which would prove to be their final game in National Two North. Otley finished in 12th place, third from bottom and in one of the relegation spots in the league. They were subsequently relegated from the league, after the sport shutdown.

The now-North Premier side did not have an immediate chance of redemption either with the Rugby Football Union cancelling its 2020-21 men’s leagues in the community game due to the pandemic.

But they have bounced back since and are raring to go.

But before their new season officially kicks off next month, Otley have a number of pre-season friendlies lined up.

Tonight they travel to West Leeds (7.30pm). This will be followed by a home date with Hull Ionians on Saturday, August 14.

Otley will then welcome local rivals Wharfedale, of National 2 North, for their final friendly clash on August 21.

Clegg says the squad are confident that they can deliver success to the club. He says they have spent the imposed break from action putting together a quality squad, one that he believes is capable of seeing his side return to National League action.

He said: “We have strengthened the squad during pre-season, ready for the new season.

“The target this season is promotion. We have enough experience in the squad to gain promotion.

“We want to win the league. I’m confident we can do that. We have strength in depth.

“All things taken into account, we’re capable of gaining promotion. We have respect to everyone in the league.

“We’re focused on what we’re doing. We’re putting the work in during pre-season on a Tuesday and Thursday night. We’re committed to the win. We’re looking forward to the start of the season at York. We’re doing OK for that.

“Everything is going how we would expect it during pre-season so far. We’re getting through the practise games to get everybody ready for September 4.”

Meanwhile, Otley travel to Driffield in the Yorkshire Shield on October 9. Despite last season being cancelled, Otley had been training under the lights on Yarnbury’s artificial pitch before the second lockdown hit.