Meet the Geordie journeyman who has travelled from Cumbria to Cornwall via France

David Weetman has taken a circuitous route to playing for Cornwall, from the North East, to Cumbria with a stint in France too, but he finally feels at home with League One’s outpost club, writes GARETH DAVIES.

BACK in January 2023, Cornwall were entering their second season as a professional rugby league club.

It turned out to be a landmark year for the Choughs with a number of firsts recorded. They included a home win, league double, back-to-back wins and a memorable last-play triumph over a heartlands club in the shape of Rochdale Hornets.

But before all those notable landmarks were achieved, the club also competed in the Challenge Cup for the first time. To mark this particular occasion, this correspondent, player Jake Lloyd and the club’s chief executive Rob Butland attended Wembley Stadium for the second- and third- round draws.

As a trio, we watched on as Kai Pearce-Paul and Eboni Partington paired the Choughs with amateurs Rochdale Mayfield but beforehand, the BBC ran a story about the club’s entry into the Challenge Cup.

‘This is a club that do things differently,’ the piece remarked and after becoming the first Cornish rugby team of either code to have a club game televised on free-to-air television in losing to Mayfield, the BBC’s assumption was spot on.

But it’s not just instances like this in which the Choughs buck the trend. Their playing squad is unique in its make up with broad Cornish accents from Decarlo Trerise and George Mitchell, complimented by Cameron Brown’s distinctive Australian twang. 

There are also the traditional rugby league voices from Yorkshire and Lancashire along with those not so familiar like David Weetman.

He’s an unusual rugby league player if ever you were to crassly stereotype one. Raised in the North East before he joined professional club Newcastle Thunder and then two spells with St Gaudens Bears were separated by an injury-hit time with Workington Town.

And then, last summer, he continued his penchant for non-conformity within our greatest game by signing for Cornwall. 

“Different voices in the dressing room isn’t something that is unusual for me,” he told Rugby League World. “Having people from different backgrounds and nationalities is good because we are all fighting for the same cause. It is a really good culture to be a part of and moving to Cornwall is one of the best rugby decisions of my career.

“It was a big move for me because I had lived at the opposite end of England but since moving down to Cornwall, everything has been fantastic. The club and fans have been great with me.

“I’m really looking forward to this season because we had a good end to 2023 and if we do kick on again, it will only make the experience even better.” 

If Cornwall is very much the here and now for Weetman, like many players from outside of rugby league’s heartland areas, an inquisitive mindset, to escape rugby union’s off-season boredom, was the catalyst for the start of his 13-player code journey.

“The first time I played rugby league was with the Cramlington Rockets up in the North East of England,” he explained. “It was something to do in the summer time whilst I was playing rugby union but after a couple of seasons with the Rockets, my love for rugby league really took off.

“Before then, I was never rarely aware of rugby league and I saw it as it is: a completely different sport to rugby union. I saw league as a really exciting challenge and playing for Cramlington really changed me as a rugby player.

“I knew after playing league that it was better suited to my style and there was a regional academy back home and then it was onto Newcastle Thunder.”

But just as Weetman began to see a bright future for himself within rugby league, a combination of struggles off the field and the Covid-19 pandemic saw a move across the English Channel to play for the Bears. 

“At Thunder, I blame myself for not kicking on, “he added. “I wasn’t very professional off the pitch and I didn’t look after myself. Then lockdown came along and I had the opportunity to play in France. Going to another country for rugby was something I always wanted to do. 

“I went to France and just thought ‘go for it and see what happens’. Thankfully, I got regular game time and it improved me as a person and as a player. I got to experience a different lifestyle and culture.”

Sensing the chance to make up for lost time back on these shores, Weetman joined Workington in 2021 who, under then coach Chris Thorman, were hunting promotion back to the Championship.

But just a handful of games into his Cumbrian adventure, Weetman suffered a horror ankle injury in a victory away to London Skolars and he was back to square one. 

“I have always found the tough way to do things,” the 25-year-old joked. “I came back from France the first time and wanted to make an impression in England. In my third or fourth game, I fractured and dislocated my ankle at London, but Workington managed to get promoted and I recovered so played a season in the Championship. 

“That was a good experience and after coming back from an injury, I was kind of thrown in at the deep end, but I feel like I am reaping the rewards of my time with Workington.

“I then went back to the same club in France at the end of 2022 and lots of the faces were familiar. I learnt a bit more French so it was a lot easier the second time round. I used the opportunity to get more game time when it was the off-season in England.

“Towards the end of my second stint, there were quite a few English clubs interested in me but Cornwall came along with a good offer. The project of Cornwall was something that I wanted to be a part of and I think the club are going places.

“I want to be part of the history of a progressive club and really get the club on the up.”

First published in Rugby League World magazine, Issue 495 (April 2024)

Click here to subscribe to the print edition of Rugby League World

Click here for the digital edition available from to read on your computer, tablet or smartphone