GREAT Britain amateur international Danny Ullyat has had to pull out of the York Select XIII for Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated clash with York City Knights – but the representative squad have a ready-made replacement in the local ranks.
Ullyat was one of the guest players from Select manager Nic Caldwell’s former club, Hull Dockers, but he injured an ankle in training and has had to withdraw.
Caldwell, though, has called up one of York amateur rugby league’s best players in Tom Hill, another BARLA GB international and a player who has often been labelled good enough to make it in the semi-pro arena had he chosen to take that route.
“Danny had an operation in the summer season and has been playing winter rugby for Hull Dockers ‘A’ but he went over on his ankle in training so he’s had to pull out,” explained Caldwell, who is a team-mate of Hill at York Acorn ARLC.
“Tom was unlucky that he missed out on the initial squad – I had wanted him in the party but he didn’t contact me back in time.
“He’s been pestering me for a game, though, and he was the logical choice.”
Caldwell joked his new recruit might not be in the best shape, however.
Said Caldwell: “He’s had a ‘good pre-season’ by the looks of things.
“He got married at the back end of our season and married life seems to agree with him.
“We all know he’s a very good player, though, and it’s good to have him in there.”
Sunday’s game at Huntington Stadium (3pm) is the Knights’ first pre-season fixture of 2013 and the first against York Select – a squad predominantly made up of local amateurs – since 2010. The three previous encounters have brought one win apiece and a draw.
The game is also a fundraiser for Boxing Bowel Cancer – a fund set up in aid of Caldwell’s wife, schoolteacher Christine Caldwell, née Sterry, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year aged 29.
The mascot for the Select side will be Nic and Christine’s four-year-old son, Alisdair. The mascot for the Knights will be Select player Leigh Rientoul’s five-year-old son, Charleigh.