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Tuesday, 07 July 2015

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Doran named Haven captain

LEE Doran has been re-appointed Whitehaven captain for the new campaign.

The tough second-row, joint team captain last term with Scott McAvoy, took charge of the team for Friday night’s friendly in Carcassonne and will be skipper for Sunday’s league opener against York City Knights at the Recre (3pm).

“Right from the outset, Lee has trained really hard,” coach Dave Woods said. “He has been around the game a long time, has the experience, and the boys look up to him.

“He has the leadership qualities we are looking for. You need a captain who will play 80 minutes nearly every week, and he can do that, though he might have to go off for spells, depending on the opposition. It was the logical choice.

“I’m really, really looking forward to this week. The boys have trained real hard in pre-season and you want them out on the field to see if they can put in to practice, what they have worked on in training.”

Woods has also formed a leadership group of senior players comprising Doran, McAvoy, Paul Cullnean, Craig Calvert, Paul Jackson and Lee Paterson.

“The leadership group is a chance for the players to go to their own peers if they don’t want to go to the staff,” the coach added.

York sacked Woods in September, 2011, 12 months after he had led them to promotion to the Championship. But he insisted Sunday’s match would hold no extra significance for him.

“I’ve still got some good friends there. I got on great with a lot of the players, some of who are still there. It was a good place to be. This is just another game to me,” said Woods, who while expecting a stiff challenge from the visitors, is happy to host them in Haven’s opening Championship match.

“It’s better playing York now than a Featherstone, or one of the other top guns in the league. They will have five players from Hull, and we think it will be a real tough game. But we are glad we are starting at home.”

New recruit Seb Martins should be available for his home debut. The French international and ex-Catalans Dragons prop played a short stint for Haven in Friday’s night’s 40-30 defeat against Elite 1 champs Carcassonne, and he signed the next day.

“He’s a powerful runner and good off-loader. Our other players see him as a real bonus and are delighted he has signed,” said chief executive Barry Richardson, who was pleased with the squad’s off-field behaviour in France.

“When we arrived, the Carcassonne president spoke to me about the players behaving at the hotel, as previous teams had caused severe problems.

“Our senior players were given responsibility to manage the rest and they responded fantastically. They were a credit to the club.”

Ex-St Helens and Workington Town forward Peter Gorley will be a special guest at Whitehaven Vice Presidents’ first event of the season next week.

The West Cumbrian made 124 appearances for Town before going on to be a key member of the Saints’ pack of the 1980s, earning England and Great Britain honours along the way.

He was voted one of Town’s six leading players of the 70s, and turned out over 200 times for Saints.

“Peter played at the top level alongside great players such as Mal Meninga, and he went on to be the only Englishman to appear on Meninga’s This Is Your Life,” said VP spokesman Des Byrne. “He’s a good speaker and it will be interesting.”

Richardson this week thanked the Vice President for their generous contribution to the signing of Martins. It was just the latest in a string of signings over the past 12 months to which the group has donated.

“I would like to thank everyone who has joined the Vice Presidents and supported the various evenings and fund-raising activities throughout the year, enabling us to make this contribution,” Byrne added.

“Hopefully their support will be seen in the club having a good year in the Championship.”

Woods, Martins and new Aussie singing James Cameron are also lined up for the event on Friday week at the Recre.

Tickets cost £5 to VPs and £10 to guests, including food, and are available from Byrne, Ron Batty at B & H Motors, or the club. Annual membership fees of £50 are due and can be paid in installments.

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners are: J Ward, Distington, with ticket number 1,831; A Dunsmoir, Cleator Moor, 1,564; J Reed, Frizington, 483; J Clifford, Woodhouse, 1,110; N Fennell, Hillcrest, 313.


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