Yorkshire Carnegie captain Richard Mayhew has become the first player to pen a new contract with the Greene King IPA Championship club for next season.

The back rower, who previously played with Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership, has agreed a new one year deal with the club ahead of Sunday’s massive clash with high flying Ealing Trailfinders at Emerald Headingley and then a trip to promotion chasing Bristol next Friday.

Mayhew was due to be out of contract at the end of the season and he says he is pleased to have agreed the new deal. He commented, “It is really pleasing to have it all sorted. I didn’t want to leave the club and it is great to get it done so I can look forward to finishing off this season well and building for next year.

“This year we have not performed at times as well as we would have liked to. We are still sitting in fourth but I don’t think we have played to our potential yet and we are due a big game. This is a great opportunity in the next two games to do that against the two strongest teams in the Greene King IPA Championship so far this season. We are looking forward to it and are pretty pumped for a big game on Sunday,” added the 32-year-old.

Yorkshire Carnegie’s home at Emerald Headingley is currently undergoing a £40m redevelopment and Mayhew says the ambition around the club was a big factor in his decision to stay. He added, “In terms of the set up here at Yorkshire Carnegie, it is Premiership standard. I also get on well with the coaching staff and we have a great group of players. There is so much potential in this group. We showed that last year when we made the Final. We have had a tough year this season, mainly due to our strength in depth due to injuries but we have dealt with that and cracked on. If we can add to that next year anything is possible.

“The facilities are brilliant when you look around at what is coming with the redevelopment. If we can keep the majority of this group of players together we can begin to build for the future. We have the makings of a good team and we want to have a competitive squad for next season and my sole focus is on winning the Championship,” added Mayhew.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, Mayhew says the Yorkshire Carnegie squad are keen to put their best foot forward against the Trailfinders especially after the 44-19 loss in Ealing earlier in the season. He added, “We have shown that when we get our first choice team out there, we can match anyone. Hopefully we can show that this Sunday against Ealing Trailfinders, as they are right up there.

“I enjoyed playing them last year and they have kicked on from that. They have made a lot of signings for next season and shown their intent to improve again. We back ourselves and we need to repeat what we did against them last year. We will need to be physical and be accurate at our set piece; that will give us an opportunity to beat them. We know it will be tough but we want to keep our good form at home up for the remainder of the season,” added Mayhew.