SATURDAY’S BARLA Under 18s National Cup Final between Dewsbury Moor Maroons and West Hull at the Millennium Stadium, Post Office Road, Featherstone Rovers was abandoned midway through the first period of extra time following a sustained outbreak of fighting in the main stand.
Featherstone’s Safety Officers twice called for spectators to calm themselves down but, although the situation appeared to have eased a little, the game was cancelled, shortly before 5.00pm, after consultation with BARLA officials. The previous games in a triple-header, at Under 16s and Under 14s, involving Hull Dockers and Siddal, and Blackbrook Royals and Leigh Miners Rangers, had passed without incident.
Featherstone Rovers were due to entertain Newcastle Thunder that same evening, with a 6.30pm kick-off.
The teams were level at 16-16 when the match was abandoned, the Moor having levelled from 16-0 down, while West Hull’s Kieran Welburn had been sent off in the closing stages of normal time for alleged dissent; Dewsbury’s Luke Hatfield had been sin binned in the early stages of extra time.
BARLA chair Sue Taylor said: “The only comment I can give at this time is that we will collate all statements and a full investigation will take place.”
The episode follows previous trouble in the Featherstone stand at the Yorkshire Under 18s Cup Final, earlier this year, between Stanningley and West Hull.
HUNSLET CLUB PARKSIDE’S Danny Rowse has been banned for eight matches.
The halfback was found guilty, at last week’s meeting of the National Conference League’s Disciplinary Committee, of using threatening words to the match official in the 28-0 home defeat at the hands of Siddal at the beginning of last month.
Ince Rose Bridge coach Darren Blakeley has also been handed an eight-match suspension, for “other contrary behaviour” in the 18-16 Division One defeat by neighbours Wigan St Patricks on the same afternoon. Casey Shaw, a spectator linked to Ince, has been banned from attending the Bridge’s next four Open Age games, having been found guilty of entering the field of play without permission; he was, however, found not guilty of punching. Ince’s Matt Topping, meanwhile, cannot attend his club’s next two games after having been guilty of using foul language towards the match official.
A couple of days earlier, on Thursday 2 June, Becky Driver of the Thornhill club used unacceptable behaviour or language, NCL bosses held, during the 48-0 Premier Division reverse at Lock Lane.
Four players have received four-match bans for punching in the Division Two fixtures between Dewsbury Moor and Wigan St Judes, and Bradford Dudley Hill and Normanton Knights, on Saturday 11 June. The quartet are Judes’ Danny Cassidy, the Moor’s Aiden Ineson, Dudley Hill’s Callum Lile and the Knights’ Kieran Hinchcliffe. However, Lile and Hinchcliffe had their suspensions reduced to two games because of their guilty pleas and previous good records. Judes lost 18-16 at Dewsbury, while Normanton prevailed 44-12 at the Hill.
Milford’s Paul Tharne and Joe Tharne were both found guilty punching during the 20-6 reverse at Division One neighbours Stanningley on 4 June. And both had four-match bans halved because of their previous good records, and guilty pleas.
In the other case, Elliot Martin (Pilkington Recs) had a three-match suspension for a high tackle in the 18-12 home defeat by fellow Premiers Rochdale Mayfield on 21 May cut to two games, because of his previous good record.
THE Wales Wheelchair Rugby League side will break new ground early next year by touring Brazil.
The teams will, in February, contest the Crusaders Cup, while Wales, who have won the Celtic Cup – which also involves Ireland and Scotland – on six occasions, will take part in a number of collaborative training sessions with their hosts.
Betfred League One outfit North Wales Crusaders have donated more than 30 wheelchair playing shirts in a well-received sporting gesture, hence the decision to name the series in their honour.
The tour will follow both countries’ involvement in the 2022 World Cup, with Brazil sending a Women’s side. Brazil Rugby League COO Hugo Fróes said: “It’s a milestone and a huge honour for us to be able to welcome a European team to Brazil, especially a team that will come after playing in the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.
“It won’t just be games, but an exchange of knowledge and teaching, so it’s fundamental for that we can grow faster and win our spot for the World Cup in France in 2025.”
Wales international – and tour organiser – Harry Jones said: “This is a huge opportunity, not only to boost the profile of each team and the sport, but to also showcase and highlight international collaboration.
“Since I organised the donation of the Crusaders shirts to Brazil, I have been in contact with Hugo on a near daily basis and the fact that the tour is officially happening is huge.
“Going to a nation where Rugby League as a whole is still in its infancy and being able to showcase our sport is massive. I truly hope that this tour will help not only Wales and Brazil develop Wheelchair Rugby League but will also help other countries develop the sport and highlight the importance in cross-club and cross-national collaboration.”
WRL chairman Brian Juliff added: “It’s been a pleasure to watch the development of Wales Rugby League Wheelchair since its inception nearly ten years ago.
“The credit to the consistency and quality of everything around this team rests firmly with some outstanding volunteers like Mark A Jones, Stephen Jones and the inimitable ‘Lord Harry Jones’ who is the driving force behind the latest self-funding and ground-breaking tour by the team to Brazil next year.
“As always, the innovation and commitment from this group is outstanding and I’m looking forward to following their progress on the tour to Brazil and, of course, will be shouting them to victory in the World Cup in Sheffield later this year.”
David Butler, European Rugby League General Manager, said: “It’s great to see Wales making a trip to the southern hemisphere and supporting the development of Wheelchair Rugby League in Brazil.
“The global development of Wheelchair Rugby League ahead of RLWC2025 is a really exciting prospect and I am sure that Brazil’s opportunity to stage international matches against Wales will serve to help them develop and to help spread the word about the wheelchair variant of our fantastic sport across South America.”
The tour is being organised in partnership with CSE, the official travel agents of the tour, but the team are on the lookout for sponsors. Anyone interested should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE 2021 Rugby League World Cup, which is now taking place this autumn because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, has already fulfilled one of its key aims, which is to have a real and positive impact on communities around England.
An independent report, researched and written by The Sports Consultancy and Substance for RLWC2021, has found that over £25 million – following an initial investment of £635,000 – has been pumped into some of the most deprived areas of the country, many of them in the north.
The report highlights four key areas of impact, viz: facility investment which has enabled clubs to create welcoming and inclusive environments for more of their community to enjoy; a Mental Fitness Programme designed to challenge the direct connection between levels of social hardship and ill health with those living in areas of high deprivation; a wholly inclusive volunteering programme is engaging new people to make a contribution to the sport and wider community; and an International Development Programme that has developed new relationships between emerging Rugby League nations and supported development programmes in international communities through soft power and diplomacy.
A statement by WHO said: “From its very inception in June 2018, the principle of making a real, tangible impact in areas of high deprivation has been central to the purpose of everyone associated with the RLWC2021, and (the) report showcases the scale and successes of the programmes delivered mainly across the tournament’s host towns and cities. There has been a significant focus on the North of England and in tackling inequalities through providing more opportunities for people in those communities.”
Rugby League World Cup 2021 Chief Executive Jon Dutton said: ““The RLWC2021 has always been about much more than delivering 61 world class matches across three tournaments.
“From its very inception, we set out to be a tournament with a purpose and with the objective of making a real impact in towns and cities with a Social Impact Programme created to deliver more than £25million of positive change.
“We have chosen to deliver this programme with support from the RFL, DCMS, Sport England and UK Sport. Our trailblazing work has been central to the tournament’s objectives, and that change is happening right now, with the vast majority of the funding having been utilised before the tournament has begun.”
He continued: “A fundamental obstacle to social mobility is a lack of local opportunities and the ability to have access to new experiences and build self-efficacy. Our Social Impact Programme has been about creating those opportunities; opportunities for people to try the sport for the first time; opportunities for girls and women along with disabled players to get involved in Rugby League; opportunities for our volunteers to try new experiences, grow their skills and play an important role during tournament time; opportunities for young people to learn about new cultures and improve their mental fitness.”
He concluded: “This interim report tells the story of a programme that has created change and delivered a positive impact, in spite of significant challenges, and delivering our ambition to leave long-lasting outcomes for diverse communities beyond the Rugby League World Cup tournament. It details the incredible power that sport has to make a difference. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished so far and I am incredibly excited to see what else we can deliver in the next few months and through the tournament itself.”
Dutton and his colleagues stress that the strength of RLWC2021’s Social Impact Programme has been in delivering activities that have been about much more than just playing Rugby League and growing participation in the sport, with partnerships with such as Movember, Community Integrated Care and UNICEF UK enabling RLWC2021 to reach a far wider and diverse audience than otherwise would have been possible.
CreatedBy grant funding has led to an overall financial investment of over £21 million, delivered in partnership with the RFL, in 38 clubhouses, 22 changing rooms, 18 pitches, 23 goalposts, three kitchens, ten lawnmowers, four gyms and 102 kit and equipment packs.
In addition, the tournament’s Mental Fitness partner Movember, in partnership with Rugby League Cares, has delivered the innovative ‘Ahead of the Game’ programme to thousands of young players between the ages of 12-18, and their coaches, helping participants understand their mental health and how to identify warning signs.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddlestone said: “The Rugby League World Cup will bring an unprecedented level of rugby competition across the north as, for the first time, the world’s best men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams come together in one tournament.
“It will also create a lasting community legacy through its social impact programme and I welcome the overall £25 million investment supporting communities and facilities for future generations of players.”
Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport, added: “We are committed to ensuring that social impact is a central pillar of all events we invest in. We believe that major sporting events have the potential to inspire and engage whole communities, and the RLWC is a great example of this. Their commitment to social impact is vital in nurturing the next generation, breaking down participation barriers, and helping ensure sport in the future is a true reflection of society.
“The publication of this report is a great reflection of what sport can achieve with the unwavering support we receive from The National Lottery.”
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, insisted: “Everybody should feel they are able to access sport and physical activity, regardless of who they are, where they live or their background. The work the RLWC2021 team has done is a great step in making this a reality.”
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