Last week I wrote about the current rugby revolution taking place on the East coast, and anyone who was at Eastway Sports and Social Club on Tuesday evening would have found it hard to disagree as Yorkshire coast Titans under-15s and under-eights, together with Scarborough Pirates were all in attendance.
Saturday sees the Pirates open their summer season with the visit of what is sure to be a tough East Leeds side (Eastway, 2:30pm kick-off), while the second team make the difficult trip to Kirklees to face Shaw Cross Sharks.
With the new season imminent and one or two key players struggling to make Wednesday evening’s sessions, coach Adam Lee (pictured right) was keen to step up preparations for the season opener and so reshuffled training to Tuesday this week, with an additional session to be held this evening in the build up to the new campaign.
The move obviously worked as Adam had plenty of numbers keen to stake a claim for a first-team shirt on Saturday, with a good mix of experienced Pirates first-teamers and up and coming youngsters in attendance.
Due to a combination of coaching the Titans under-eights and a torn calf muscle, unfortunately I was unable to join them but there looked to be a great intensity and some really productive work taking place during the session.
Dave Douthwaite caught the eye on numerous occasions with his trademark angled run on to a short ball, cutting a swathe through the defence seemingly at will.
Dave captained the Pirates winter side and will once again be a great asset to the club this season. His experience and powerful running make him a potent attacking threat from anywhere on the park and keeping him fit and on the pitch will be a key factor of the Pirates’ success this year.
Billy Parker, back from his sabbatical to Australia and New Zealand which saw him miss all of last season, will also be one of the Pirates’ most attacking threats this year.
His famous show-and-go has seen him open up numerous defences over the years and if he performs half as brightly as his new boots this season he’ll outshine everyone.
In all seriousness though, Billy’s return is a huge boost for the Pirates and as well as his potent attacking skills Billy is one of the best defenders and biggest hitters in the team in defence.
Tom Jenkinson also looked sharp, as he so often does, showing his fleet of foot on more than one occasion at training.
Tom has clearly been working hard in the gym during the off-season too and I expect him to be right amongst the tries this season.
Tom is very much in the Josh Charnley mould of wingers, as despite not possessing a naturally large frame he has immense upper-body strength to compliment his electric pace.
It was also great to see last year’s second team coach, Mick Shepherd, in attendance at training helping out Adam.
Mick stood down as second team coach at the end of last season but, like so many of us, clearly finds it hard to give up the game altogether.
Hopefully, Mick will be able to help out and lend some of his experience throughout the season on a regular basis, his assistance will be invaluable to Adam and second-team coach, Keith Paddock.
I’m pleased to report that Yorkshire Coast Titans under-eights first ever training session on Tuesday evening was a huge success, with over twenty boys in attendance.
There was a wonderful atmosphere at Eastway and all the boys who attended were incredibly enthusiastic and displayed plenty of skill, there may even be a few budding Super League players among them too.
Leon Cammish took this week’s ‘Trainer of the Week’ trophy for being especially hard working and determined.
I’m already looking forward to next week’s session, Tuesday 6-7pm, everyone aged from (nearly) six to eight welcome.
Finally, in recent weeks I’ve suggested various rugby league related Tweeters for you to follow and last week the RFL’s match officials official Twitter feed (@RFLReferees) went live.
On Tuesday afternoon they held their first, weekly #asktheref session which was both interesting and informative.
For those Tweeters among you I suggest you give them a follow but heed their warning ‘abusive tweeters and tweets using foul and abusive language will be blocked.’