YMCA’s burgeoning Colts side have not only made a useful start to their own season, but are now also contributing to the club’s First XV!
Even at this early stage of the season, no fewer than seven of the Under 19s have featured in a senior match, with two of their squad, Gavin Stead and Adam Ryder, rapidly becoming an integral part of the first team.
Indeed, Stead, playing at centre, is now the first team’s leading scorer with a couple of tries, seven conversions and a penalty kick to his credit from just four games, while Ryder, who is playing on the wing, has also touched down twice, scoring against Keighley and Redcar.
But Stead and Ryder are not alone as Sam Hodge, Josh Marshall and James Bell have all made an appearance at some stage in the firsts this season, along with the Dyke brothers, Stuart and Stephen who both came on as second-half substitutes at Redcar last week.
And that has to be fantastic news for the YMCA, who have been devoid of home-grown talent for too long.
Ross Housley, who plays in the second row, is one of the few regular first teamers who came up through the club’s juniors ranks, while fit-again Simon Wilson is on the fringes.
Two more who came through that same junior side and have featured in the firsts Gary Taylor and Toby Turner (since lost to the club), but YM have to go back to Stuart Morton for the last real gem of home-grown talent who has made a lasting impression in senior rugby.
The hope has to be that the current Under 19 Colts continue to flourish, and that a significant number of them ‘graduate’ into the senior ranks throughout this and next season.
That surely has to be the way forward, and not just for the town’s two rugby union clubs, but also for other sporting organisations, particularly cricket, with local clubs having squandered countless thousands on ‘outside talent’ over the years.
YM’s Colts have won two of their opening three games, and are operating in Division II of a four-strong Yorkshire League.
They opened with a 22-11 win over Selby, scoring four tries to one against a side who had knocked them out of the Yorkshire County Cup the previous season, and then followed up with a massive 60-0 hammering of Harrogate.
They then travelled to Sandal but, with a current injury crisis, found themselves reduced to just 14 players and were edged out 14-12.
“I’ve never known as many injuries so early in the season,” said club secretary and coach David Dyke. “Fortunately, we have two new recruits in scrum half Dominic Walsh and utility back Tom Butterfield, and we’ll be looking to continue our progress tomorrow when we play Harrogate again in the second round of the National Cup.”