EXCITEMENT is building in York amateur rugby league circles as their representative side gear up for Sunday’s encounter with the city’s professional outfit.
That was the opinion of York Acorn ARLC prop Nic Caldwell, the manager of the York Select XIII, who reckons his charges are in good spirits following fruitful training sessions over the festive period.
Fitness will be an issue for his team given that this will be the first time the Select outfit has taken on the Knights out of season – the previous three encounters all took place in the middle of the traditional amateur winter season before the amateur game switched to summer – but they will be aided by an unlimited substitutions rule, and Caldwell is confident his men can give the professional side a run for their money.
“We’ve had a few get-togethers,” he said of his 21-man squad, all of whom will feature on Sunday.
“We had a session on December 16 when we had about 15 players down to blow a few cobwebs off. Last Saturday we had 19 down, and we had a really productive session on December 30. We looked a good outfit to be honest.
“I’m really, really excited for it now. The training session on Sunday has really got me up for it. All the lads are buzzing after that. We had a bit of fun together and the lads really enjoyed it. I think they’re really looking forward to playing.
“Our only concern really is the conditioning given the fact we’re out of season.
“We’ll be running with eight subs and we’ve got a lot of forwards on the bench, which will help, but we’re going to be behind the Knights lads in fitness. They’ve been in training for eight weeks or so, and you can’t ask amateur lads to go through the same pre-season schedule as the professionals. Our lads’ desire won’t be in question; it’s just whether the lungs will match it.”
As reported by The Press, former Knights favourites Craig Farrell, now playing amateur rugby in his native Scarborough, and Jonny Liddell, the ex-Acorn ace who is now living in Lancashire, will be turning out for the Select side.
The team will be captained by Andy Gargan, another Acorn player who had a spell in the pro ranks at Huntington Stadium.
Select party: Tim Elliott, Andy Gargan, Adam Endersby, Jordan Hyde, Leigh Rientoul, Danny Caldwell, Matthew Woods, Joe Porter, Martin McTigue, Mike Embleton, Antony Chilton, Tom Hill (all York Acorn), Liam Gargan (New Earswick All Blacks), Chris Varley, Mike Welsh (both Heworth), Tom Dunmore (York Lokos), Jon Eccles, Chris Stephenson, Darren Bumby (all Hull Dockers), Jon Liddell (unattached), Craig Farrell (Scarborough Pirates).