Ambitious young players in north Wales have been invited to trials late next month – with places in the Wales Under 16s team up for grabs.
Head coach Paul Berry and his colleagues are specifically targeting players based in North Wales, or who qualify through family heritage.
He told League Express: “Eligible players must be in years 10 and 11 at school, and qualify for Wales selection by being Welsh-born or via heritage (if they have Welsh parents or Welsh grandparents).”
Players can register by visiting https://forms.gle/ea7xhnGS4Rkd25am7
The trials, on Saturday 26 February (11.00am to 3.00pm) will be held at the University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester, CH1 4BJ.
Further information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Rugby League broke new ground in Wales with the first Girls Champion Schools games. Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf and Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun met at Years 9 and 11, with Glantaf prevailing in each contest to earn ties against English schools at the next stage.
Efa Williams bagged a brace in the 42-0 win at Year 11, while Elen Price scored a try and seven goals from as many attempts. Olivia Lucas, Madison Isgrove, Lilly Taylor and Catrin Davies also crossed. Megan Elin Jones, meanwhile, totalled 28 points with six tries and two goals in the 46-6 success at Year 9, and Hannah Charitos scored a try and a goal. Elan Hall also touched down and Olivia Rawnsley appended three conversions. Catrin Lemos replied for Rhydywaun and Darcie Trow added the extras.
Wales RL CEO Gareth Kear, said: “It is another historic day. Rugby League is a simple game to learn and play as evidenced today. If you can run, catch, pass and tackle, then you can enjoy Rugby League. Well done to all players and teachers.”
The Wales RL, meanwhile, will run national development sessions in the east, west and north after successful Under 18s and Under 16s trials at Caerphilly. “Our first session was coached by current women’s full international stars,” said Kear, who added: “Players will now be competing for selection and an international cap for our Wales U16s team, that will play a full international for the very first time this autumn.”
Dates have been confirmed for two of the outstanding ties in the Castleford & Featherstone ARL’s David Poulter Open Cup.
Featherstone Lions will entertain Cutsyke Raiders in the quarter-finals on Friday 4 February (7.00pm); the winner of that game will travel to Fryston Warriors at the penultimate stage.
Meanwhile the semi-final between Lock Lane and Fryston Warriors A will be played on Thursday 10 February (7.00pm).
Coaches Conor Meese and Ellis Pascall have confirmed the England Students Women’s squad for 2022.
The 22-player party comprises Emily Baggaley (South Wales), Amy Bennett, Becky Grady (Leeds), Chloe Billington (York St John), Megan Bragg (Salford), Amelia Brown, Pippa Curley (both Huddersfield), Katy Fisher (Pontefract), Jess Harrop (Leeds Trinity), Kaitlin Hilton (St John Rigby), Zoe Hornby (Northumbria), Emma Kershaw (Askham Bryan), Gabbi Leigh, Tamzin Renouf (both Leeds Beckett), Orla McCallion (Northumbria), Katie Mottershead (Cronton Sixth Form), Izzy Northorp (Newcastle), Eboni Partington (Bolton), Darcy Stott (Staffordshire), Bella Sykes (Shelley), Danni Waters (Hull), Sophia Williams (LLS Sports College).
Kershaw and Renouf have already made their mark in Super League with York City Knights, while Bragg, McCallion, Baggaley and Brown are with, respectively, St Helens, Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants.
Meese said: “Massive congratulations are due to everyone who has been selected following really competitive trials.
“Representing England is the pinnacle of Rugby League in this country, and all those selected will be brimming with pride and excitement.
“We have a good blend of youth and experience in the squad, which will hopefully compete well in this year’s President’s Cup and Pankhurst Cup fixtures. Training will be intense and enjoyable, with everyone competing to gain a starting place. It’s going to be an exciting challenge to get the team to clicking in a short space of time, but all the management team can’t wait to get going.”
Pascall added: “I am really pleased with the group of players that we have on board for this year’s programme. There is some exceptional talent throughout the squad and I’m looking forward to starting training with them next month.”
England Community Lions Under 19s head coach Allan Coleman, who is already plotting his side’s bid for success in September’s European Championships in Italy, will run the rule over 60 hopefuls when three trial games take place at Pilkington Recs’ Ruskin Drive ground in St Helens on Sunday 6 February following development days held in Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire late last year.
The shortened matches will start at 12.30pm and finish at around 3.00pm; they will be streamed live on OuRLeague.
Coleman said : “We’ve got to get these games in before things really start for their clubs. It’s really important that the players can then concentrate on their community clubs.
“I feel that we’ve got it right and I’m really looking forward to the day. The way programme lead Alan Davidson has planned it makes it special. Two or three years ago, before Covid, we had a massive turnout. It was on OuRLeague and a lot of people watched. It does build the event up and helps create big excitement.”
He added: “It was good to get nominations from a lot of clubs. It’s testimony to the guys coaching these players week in, week out, and producing this talent. We are fortunate that we get to coach the elite, but it’s the community guys who are doing the hard work and credit should go to them.”
The sixty players selected are: Adam Cash (Odsal Sedbergh), Bailey Arnold (Birkenshaw Bulldogs), Charlie Walker (Brighouse Rangers), Jake Smith, George Painter (Cottingham Tigers), Kian Fisher (Drighlington), Bradlee Radford (East Hull), Thomas Clarke (Heworth), Jack Briggs, Bradley Wheeler (Hunslet Club Parkside), Josh Leeson (Westgate Common), Archie Halmshaw, Max Tordoff (West Bowling), Harvey Oldroyd (Siddal), Harvey Kemp, Kieran Welburn, Mason Palmer, Robbie Jones, Sam McCauley (West Hull), Mekhi Bridgeman-Reaney (Stanningley), Connor Foster, Jacob Goodall, Callum Brian (Shaw Cross Sharks), Louis Guthrie, Alfie Hewitt (North Leeds Leopards), Kian Cockshoot (Wibsey Warriors), Andy Djeukam (East Leeds), Atlee-Jack Skillen (Maryport), Blaine Graham, Jack Ainley (Kells), Taylor Richardson, Logan Holgate (Hensingham), Rio Wilson-McQuistan, Jack Newbiggin (Millom), David Beck, Evan Foster (Ulverston), Ross Bird (Askam), Mitchell Todd (Lowca), Taylor Roberts (Roose Pioneers), Harry Penny (Ince Rose Bridge), Dylan Turner (Oldham St Annes), Kristian McVeigh, Matthew Brown (Rochdale Mayfield), Toby Hughes, Harrison Picton, Mark Alban (Newton Storm), Connor Goldthorpe, Kieran Dean (Thatto Heath Crusaders), Matthew Parkes, Noah Lancelott, Tyler Birtle, Marco Williamson (Leigh Miners Rangers), Scott Parnaby, Callum Murphy (Waterhead Warriors), Josh Wagstaff (Langworthy Reds), Luc Slater (Orrell St James), Ryan Lockett (Pilkington Recs), Josh Clarke, Ryan Wood, Alfie Pyke (Wigan St Judes).
Referees at fixtures in the National Conference League’s top flight, which starts on Saturday 5 March 2022, will wear headcams this season.
The initiative, which if successful could be extended to other divisions, has been introduced as a means of aiding disciplinary procedures following dismissals.
It is also expected to help referee development, while ensuring continuity for those who progress to the Betfred Super League, many of whose officials kick-started their careers in the NCL.
Clubs could also be able to potentially make use of the technology for coaching purposes.
Conference chairman Trevor Hunt, who confirmed that the NCL itself is funding the six headcams at a total cost of £2,000, said: “Games will be recorded and downloaded for review, and we’ll be working closely with the RFL’s Tom Grant and Liam Moore, the Match Officials Recruitment and Retention Manager.”
Meanwhile Hunt confirmed that there are no plans to award 18-0 ‘wins’ next season if teams pull out of fixtures through players and staff testing positive for Covid. He said: “We faced exceptional circumstances in 2021, and had no real alternative, but the NCL is about fulfilling fixtures. Any games called off through Covid this year will be postponed and, certainly as things stand, we’ll expect them to be played at a later date.”
Play-offs will again be used to determine promotion from the bottom three divisions, with the top two in each section going up automatically and the next four battling it out for the third spot.
Hunt was re-elected as chair at last week’s AGM, which was conducted by Zoom. Tony Johnson was re-elected as vice-chair, and Peter Moran as president. Simon Rowe, meanwhile, has been added to the committee, filling the vacancy created by the sad death last year of Alfrieda Kindon. Rowe joins existing members Joe Fitzsimmons, Mike Denning and Billy Dillon.
Seventy-one teams are set to contest the 2022 North West Men’s League, which is scheduled to start on Saturday 5 March and which will climax in Grand Finals on Saturday 1 October.
The sides have been split into eight divisions, comprising:
PREMIER DIVISION: Ashton Bears, Blackbrook, Halton Farnworth Hornets, Heysham Atoms, Latchford Albion, Orrell St James, Shevington Sharks, Thatto Heath Crusaders A, West Bank Bears.
DIVISION ONE: Askam, Bury Broncos, Chorley Panthers, Dalton, Folly Lane, Haresfinch, Hindley, Leigh Miners Rangers A, Ulverston, Wigan St Cuthberts.
DIVISION TWO: Cadishead Rhinos, Halton Simms Cross, Hindpool Tigers, Pilkington Recs A, Roose Pioneers, Salford City Roosters, Walney Central, Westhoughton Lions, Wigan Spring View, Wigan St Patricks A.
DIVISION THREE: Chester Gladiators, Crosfields A, Culcheth Eagles, Haydock, Leigh East A, Liverpool Lizards, Rochdale Mayfield A, Thatto Heath Crusaders B, Widnes Moorfield Tigers, Woolston Rovers A.
DIVISION FOUR NORTH & WEST: Blackpool Stanley, Blackpool Scorpions, Garswood Stags, Golborne Parkside, Newton Storm, Orrell St James A, Wigan Bulldogs, Wigan St Judes A.
DIVISION FOUR SOUTH & EAST: Burtonwood Bridge, Burtonwood Chargers, Clock Face Miners A, Higginshaw, Langworthy Reds, Oldham St Annes A, Waterhead Warriors A, West Bank Bears A.
DIVISION FIVE: Ashton Bears A, Bolton Mets, Garswood Stags A, Ince Rose Bridge A, Liverpool Lions, Liverpool St Helens, Preston & South Ribble Rabbitohs, Runcorn Highfield, Tameside Knights, Wigan Spring View A.
MERIT LEAGUE: Bury Broncos A, Eccleston Lions, Folly Lane A, Salford City Roosters A, Westhoughton Lions A, Wyre Warriors.
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