BOTH the town’s rugby union clubs are setting great store in their junior development programmes, and already the senior squads are starting to reap the benefits.
Huddersfield already have Mark Whitehead, George Hinchliff and Ben Harris as first team regulars, while Tom Ainsworth, James Davies and Nick Sharpe are also knocking on the first XV door, while the YMCA similarly have a handful of Colts on the threshold of senior rugby.
Gavin Stead and Adam Ryder are two of the star players in YM’s Under 18 side, and have already become established starters this season for the first team, while several more have already tasted senior action.
Josh Marshall has shown glimpses of his undoubted talent (he was expected to start today at Bridlington in the scrum half spot) which has not gone unnoticed across the county, and he is now currently training with Zurich Premiership club Leeds Tykes each week.
The Laund Hill Colts are presently second in Yorkshire II, just one point behind leaders Yarnbury, who they have already beaten 12-7 earlier in the season. They are also looking to progress in the National Plate competition and the Yorkshire Cup.
Last Sunday YM hammered Selby 48-21 with wingman Ryder crossing for four tries, while his wing partner Lloyd Bentley (son of former England star John) ran in two more. Others came from centre Stead, who also kicked four conversions, while prop Stephen Dyke scored the other try and took the man-of-the-match award.
YM will be looking to repeat that success tomorrow when they visit Selby in the National Plate (12.30), having been edged out by Harrogate in the National Cup, when they drew 10-10, but the senior club went through courtesy of scoring more tries.
Assistant coach David Dyke admits “we have high hopes for our Colts side who have been together now for about 10 years, and who over that time have developed a remarkable team spirit.
“Although we are playing in an Under 19 League, some of the lads are still under 18s, and we are consciously trying to integrate them into senior rugby at the YM, many of them having already had first team experience, while others have played in the Seconds, Thirds and even the Vets.
“I think Gavin (Stead) and Adam (Ryder) are now established in the first team, while several others have proved they are more than capable of filling in when they have stepped up.”
Ryder is the top try-scorer in the Colts, having crossed 12 times in the eight-match campaign, which has so far produced five wins and a draw, while they have totalled 223 points for, while conceding just 86 points against.
“Certainly our defence has been the strong point so far this season, having conceded less than 11 points a game,” added Dyke, who welcomed the sponsorship that the team have benefited from this term, thanks to second team stalwart Dave Mosley and his partner Jana Horn, from Mear Calculators, part of the Trojan Plastics group.
YMCA’s Under 14s comfortably beat rivals Old Rishworthians 33-7l.
First-half tries were scored by Fraser Pickard, Tom Wood, Sam Cummings, with Wood adding the goals to make it 19-0 at the break.
Pickard took over the captaincy from James Cotton, who was forced off with an ankle injury, added a second before Corey Rhodes wrapped things up.
The Under 9s drew 2-2 against Old Brods but lost 4-3 to Bradford and Bingley. Shelley Denton was the player of the match putting in an excellent performance.
The Under 7s played two matches against Bradford and Bingley drawing 5-5 in the opener and winning 6-2 in the second, with tries scored by Matthew Frank, Jake Rose, Steven Hoyle, Dan Brooksbank, Elliott Stokes, Elliott Darde-Whitehead and Lewis Townsend.