The 2019 Academy Championship is set to kick off this weekend as Newcastle Thunder U19’s look to travel away to Castleford Tigers.
Thunder had a successful 2018 campaign which saw multiple players being prepared for first team action. This being no different in 2019 as nine academy players were selected to feature against Whitehaven where Nathan Clemmitt rewrote the history books, becoming the youngest player to represent the first team at 16 years and 6 months.
Clemmitt is one of eight Rockets in the match day squad, six of whom are making their U19s debut.
Tom Wilcox and Ollie Gowing are both returning U19s players this season and have already featured for the first team.
It is also a notable day for Gowing having being appointed to the team's leadership group and takes the reins as vice captain to Rory Nettleton's captain.
Head of Academy Michael Heap told thunderrugby.co.uk:
“We’ve had a really productive pre-season here at Kingston Park and also at HM Naval Base Clyde where we looked to push the players outside their comfort zone.
We’ve reflected from last year and we sat down to look at how we could prepare these players in the best way possible for them to make that step to the next level. Last year we had great success with this as we had 17 first team appearances spread across 8 players and we are hopefully looking to keep this success going.”
Newcastle Thunder Squad:
1) Will Todd – Durham Tigers
2) Jack Allen – Cramlington Rockets
3)Isaac Nokes – Cramlington Rockets
4) Sean Croston – Westhoughton Lions
5) Anthony Dyne – Peterlee Pumas
6) Alex Donaghy – Cramlington Rockets
7) Tom Wilcox – Cramlington Rockets
8) Rory Nettleton (c) – Jarrow Viking’s
9) Oliver Gowing (vc) – Cramlington Rockets
10) James Mcgurk – Jarrow Viking’s
11) Nathan Clemmitt – Cramlington Rockets
12) Malik Steele – Seaton Rangers
13) Lewis Howe – Cramlington Rockets
14) Cai Ellis – Peterlee Pumas
15) Tyler Walton – Wallsend Eagles
16) George Robinson – Catterick Crusaders
17) Rupert Civil – Catterick Crusaders
18) Mark Roberts – Cramlington Rockets