In a new series of features we are asking Haven fans to select their Dream Team or to share their memories of a special game. Starting us off Karl Connor takes on the challenge of his best ever XII:

One of my earliest memories is standing under the Kells End with my Auntie Jackie, who used to take me to the games. There is a photograph somewhere of me in a long white shirt with the famous chocolate, blue and gold hoops.

In truth it looks more like a dress, and I’m clinging on for my life to an oval-shaped ball which is bigger than my head. I can’t be more than five or six years old.

When I got a little older I remember running onto the field at the end of games, clutching an autograph book and sacrificing many a pair of white trainers, so I could get the prized signatures of the likes of Martin Offiah, Frano Botica and Ellery Hanley. I was always equally pleased to get them from Billy Fisher or Big Reg Dunn, even if they signed it every week.

To have gone on to report on Whitehaven RLFC, as I did for a decade, and to then have had the chance to serve the club as a director, makes me feel lucky and proud in equal measure.

It’s hard to pick a team — you get to the end and realise you’ve not had space for so many great players, but then don’t want to take any out. Even I’m annoyed that Gary Broadbent, Howard Hill, Karl Edmondson and Graeme Morton — to name just a few — haven’t made my team.

I set my parameters at players I’ve seen play live, which ruled out many I know only by legend. And I’ve purposefully tried to avoid that British Rugby League curse of shoehorning in the best 13, regardless of position.

Karl's Dream Team

Wes Wilson — so hard to overlook the defensive consistency of Gary Broadbent, but a fully-fit Wilson was a better all round player, in my opinion.

Craig Calvert — the lightening speed when he broke through was one thing, but Calvert developed into a really good winger who could have played at a higher level.

David Seeds — the word legend is overused, but Seedsy’s record speaks for itself. I think he’d be an immortal if they were picking it today.

Craig Walsh — Perhaps one of Haven’s great unfulfilled talents. When ‘Walshy’ fancied it, and under the right coach, he was as good as anybody I’ve seen outside of Super League.

Andrew Bulman — The only member of the current crop to make my side; I’d love to have seen Bulman play in the Haven sides which regularly challenged for honours.

Leroy Joe — how could I pick anyone else at six? Superb clubman, and a really good player.

Sam Obst — his spell with Haven may have only been a short one, but Obst was a superstar.

Kyle Amor —the season Kyle broke through at Haven he was virtually unplayable. The team was in decline, but he was immense.

Aaron Lester — the best overseas player, perhaps even just best player, to play rugby league in the UK but never in the Super League.

Ryan Tandy — a handful on and off the field, God rest his soul, when the big Aussie fancied it he was unstoppable. How many other Haven players have gone on to feature in an NRL Grand Final?

Phil Sherwen — had it not been for a combination of shoulder injuries and farming commitments, I think Phil would have played regularly for Great Britain/England. He was phenomenal, a tackling machine, and if I remember rightly, could have gone to Leeds Rhinos.

Craig Chambers — fast, strong and as hard as nails. Any team was better when Chem was in it.

Carl Rudd — a very classy footballer, who had some great games in strong Whitehaven teams. Another who, sadly, lost too many games to unfortunate injuries.


Carl Sice — could grab a try from anywhere.

David Fatialofa — I couldn’t not include Fats, Haven’s Mr Consistency.

Brett McDermott — powerful and pacy, equally at home at prop or second row.

Scott McAvoy — great at running angles. I always preferred Macca in space, playing wide in the centre, but he was also a great second row forward.

If you would like to name your Dream Team or recall a match send your thoughts to