Scarborough Pirates pair Dave Douthwaite and Harry Sleep are celebrating after being called up for the England Lionhearts tour to the Ukraine.
Pirates skipper Douthwaite and pacy full-back Sleep shone in the Eastway club’s promotion-winning season, catching the eye of the Lionhearts selectors and booking their spot in the touring party to Eastern Europe in June.
The Pirates duo will take part in a mini tournament including their hosts the Ukraine, Georgia and another team yet to be confirmed, while they will spend time coaching in local schools and clubs in a bid to develop rugby league in the country.
A delighted Douthwaite said: “I’m made up.
“It’s a great achievement for me personally and also for the club to be recognised too.
“People are starting to take notice of us as a club now.
It’s a great achievement for me personally and also for the club to be recognised tooDave Douthwaite
“We won the play-off final at Castleford, entered into the Challenge Cup and now me and Harry have been picked for this tour.”
The pair follow in the footsteps of former player-coach Chris Keld, who represented the Lionhearts in 2003, and Sleep can’t wait to get cracking now after receiving news of his call-up.
Sleep said: “It will be a huge experience for both Dave and myself.
“It’s great that we’ve been picked to represent the country and it’ll be an honour to walk out on the pitch wearing the shirt and also represent the Scarborough Pirates.
“I’ve played with Dave for years now and he’s been captain of the Pirates as long as I can remember, so it’ll be great to be on the tour with him.”
The pair need to raise funds before they can think about boarding the plane to the Ukraine.
Douthwaite added: “We need to pay towards the cost of the tour.
“We have made a good start, but we have to raise more.
“The club have paid our first instalment, which is great, and MKM and Woodland Paving have also sponsored us.”
Sleep added: “I believe we need another £800-900 before we can go so any donations would be welcome.”
Anyone wishing to sponsor the pair can contact Dave on 07903051114 or Harry on 07500974208 for details.
The pair are focussing on the Pirates’ first game of their debut season in the Yorkshire Men’s Premier League for now.
They tackle Illingworth at Eastway on April 11.