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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Haven say halo to Saints

WHITEHAVEN could fine-tune their pre-season preparations with St Helens’ superstars under a new partnership between the clubs.

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Deal: Dave Woods

Both clubs are keen to foster close relations, and Recre coach Dave Woods is a pal of Mike Rush, who was in temporary charge at Langtree Park for much of last season.

“Mike said we could go down there for a pre-season camp, use their facilities, train with the first-grade and give our young blokes an opportunity,” Woods said.

“He’s aware of the talent in Cumbria. There’s an opportunity for any of our young players, who we think are good enough, to play for their U19s. It should be good for us.”

The agreement could help Haven attract leading local teenage amateurs if they were given an immediate chance to make a top-flight impact with Saints.

Woods is looking at the possibility of the Haven squad warming up for next term with a tough stint away from the Recre, whether at St Helens or an alternative site.

The clubs unveiled their wide-ranging agreement last week, which, unlike Haven’s less formal but still profitable partnership with Leeds Rhinos, is expected to yield first-team players from the Super League outfit.

Woods will have access to leading Saints’ players not included in their weekly 19-man squad, while those lower down their first-team squad ladder will be available to Championship One Rochdale Hornets.

Haven believe it should mean leading prospects are available to them each week, while any of their Super League regulars returning from injury or who have fallen out of the team might also be used.

Woods has a long-term relationship with Saints, assisting on the coaching front. The Aussie has also been on a handful of U18 tours to his homeland with Saints over recent years, seeing the likes of Jonny Lomax, Scott Moore and Kyle Eastmond blossom in to top performers.

Meanwhile, Haven fans are to raise money to help improve the life of star player Jamie Rooney’s son Brennan.

The youngster suffered brain damage after he was born nine weeks premature in 2002, and at eight months old he was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

Brennan’s therapist has suggested he have an iPad to stimulate his vision and memory skills, and his family hope to purchase a specially-adapted bike to enable him to enjoy riding out and open up his life a little.

Fans group Trust in Haven are to hold a race night at the Recre on Friday, November 9 at 8pm which they hope will go a long way to securing the goods.

“It’s really impressive what you can achieve on these race nights, and we want as many people as possible there because it’s a good cause,” said the Trust’s John Hurst.

“If we get 100 there, plus a bit of sponsorship, we should be able to raise £1,000, which could possibly get what is needed.”

The night is being sponsored by West Coast Entertainment, and will include a guest vocalist. For details on how to donate, go to the Trust in Haven website, trustinhaven.com

Stephen Fox is expected to push for a place in Haven’s Championship side next season after penning a fresh deal for 2013.

The centre/back-rower suffered a couple of injuries last term that limited his playing time, but in between the knocks he made 11 appearances, in which he showed enough potential to merit a fresh deal.

“He proved when he got in to the team that he has a lot to offer,” said chief executive Barry Richardson. “He has been unfortunate with injuries, but hopefully they are now behind him.

“He’s a tough lad and a player who really could establish a place in the first-team.”

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners are: S Dixon, Colebridge Drive, Egremont, with ticket number 2,102; Ken Burns, Meadow View, Whitehaven, 100; T Holiday, Whinlatter Road, Mirehouse, 2,472; Liam Dryden, Esk Avenue, Corkickle, 2,797; C Chambers, Borrowdale Road, Mirehouse, 3,233.

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