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Sunday, 05 July 2015

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Woods to give squad a chance

COACH Dave Woods may opt to put his faith in his own players for Whitehaven’s return to the Championship against York City Knights next week – rather than take talent from Super League giants St Helens.

Dave Woods: “Our boys have trained really well and I would like to give them an opportunity”

The fresh partnership between the clubs has been hailed as a coup for Haven this term, with players not needed by the top-flight club on a weekly basis, available to Woods, who is a pal of Saints’ chief Mike Rush.

But he is keen to give his own squad, now 24-strong with the addition of Papua New Guinea international Rodney Pora, the first chance to stake a claim for a place in the side.

“St Helens will offer players to us, and if we want to use them, we can,” said Woods, who leads his squad to France for their final pre-season game against Elite 1 champions Carcassonne on Friday night.

“At this stage of the year, I might not take anyone. Our boys have trained really well and I would like to give them an opportunity.

“We will see how we go when we get back from France. I’ll play it by ear. If they are playing well enough I don’t need to look elsewhere. It’s up to them.”

Woods missed the 18-0 opening pre-season win over Gateshead as he was on a family holiday in Australia, booked before he took charge at the Recre.

He has since reviewed the match and was delighted with the squad’s defensive effort.

“We are going to come up with errors, but I’ve no problem with that if we defend our line the way we did,” added Woods. “We have quality players with ball in hand and the attack will come.”

Fans’ group Haven Horizon, which organised the sold-out club launch night on Saturday, have offered a cash bonus of £1,000 to any player who breaks a Recre try or goal-scoring record this year.

Mick Pechey holds the try-scoring record of 34 in a season, set in 1994/95, and JJ McKeown is top goal scorer with 140 in 1956/57.

“The opportunity is there. If anyone can do it we will be delighted to pay out,” said Mike Rothery, chairman of the new group, which is keen to build relationships with the club and fans. “It’s a bit of an incentive for the team to do well.”

Prize money for each category will be increased to £1,500 if Cumbrian records are broken. These are held by Jim Lewthwaite, who bagged 50 tries for Barrow in 1956/57, and Workington Town’s Lyn Hopkins, who landed 186 goals in 1981/82.

The group’s Tommy Todd will present a tankard to the Haven Horizon man of the match against Carcassonne.

Meanwhile, former members are flocking to re-join Trust in Haven. After well-publicised difficulties in 2011, fans were given free membership last year. But a fee was introduced from January 1, to help finance the trust’s activities, with annual membership now costing £20 for adults and £10 for concessions.

“The numbers renewing their membership are better than we could have hoped for,” said trust chairman Dave Farrell. “It is very encouraging.

“We are certainly on track to meet our target membership for 2013, though there are still plenty of opportunities for new and existing members to sign up.

“The more that sign up, the more funds we have to help our activities and ultimately support the club.”

The trust contributed a four-figure sum to the signing of young half-back Cain Southernwood and is fund-raising for the son of star player Jamie Rooney. Brennan Rooney suffered brain damage after he was born nine weeks premature in 2002. Go to the trust website for further details.

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners are: L Hoskins, Glenridding Walk, Richmond, 978; Paul & Paula Garbett, Cambridge Street, Millom, 842; K White, Hillcrest Avenue, Hillcrest, 2,118; Peter & Marie Foley, Melbreak Avenue, Cleator Moor, 721; P Murphy, Holly Bank, The Highlands, 839.

Last week’s winners were: Kelly Lumley, Juniper Grove, The Highlands, 516; Barbara Dalton, Lamb Lane, Egremont, 678; G Jaffray, Victoria Road, Whitehaven, 1,137; Alan Freeman, Elizabeth Crescent, Bay Vista, 1,912; Walter Burney, Countess Road, Bransty, 1,836.


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