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Injury-ravaged York City Knights hand debut to Under-18s ace Harry Carter
10:40am Saturday 18th August 2012 in Sport
PLAYER-BOSS Chris Thorman can’t help but praise the manful job York City Knights ’ kids have done in testing circumstances – as he calls yet two more up for potential dips in the open-age deep end.
It was already known that hooker Jack Lee had become the latest addition to the Knights’ almost endless injury list but, in yet another blow for the Championship strugglers, hopes that full-back Tom Bush would pass fit for tomorrow’s trip to Batley (2pm) have been dashed too.
Additionally, dual-registered half-back Danny Nicklas will not return to the ranks, as had been mooted, as he was named in Hull’s provisional squad for their Super League match at Widnes tonight.
It has all left Thorman again scratching around for players and, having provisionally named AN Other among his four substitutes, he is set to send out an emergency call for more under-18s – with Harry Carter and Ash Haynes now in line for debuts.
Said Thorman of this drastic youth policy: “It’s not ideal. Probably none of the U18s would’ve got thrown in if it wasn’t for the injuries. But they’re doing a good job.
“They’ve not trained an awful lot with us. They wouldn’t have been in our thoughts at any stage this season to play at Championship level, and they’re in unfamiliar surroundings.
“But they do what they’re asked and they’re a real credit to themselves, their families and the club.”
Lee and Bush both exited last week’s loss at Halifax prematurely due to ankle and shoulder problems but Bush was expected to retake his full-back spot tomorrow.
In better news, 19-year-old second-row Ed Smith has provided some relief having returned to training this week, but he faces a late check before returning to match action.Therefore, U18s winger Haynes has been named in an 18-man squad as cover, and could join fellow 18-year-old Carter, selected as replacement hooker, in making a first-team debut.
There are five other rookies in the 17, namely 17-year-old prop Liam Ellis, who became the Knights’ youngest-ever player last week, Ben Dent, who switches from the wing to full-back in Bush’s stead, Gareth Poutney, who will make his first start at centre after two substitute runs, Tyler Craig, who continues at half-back after his first start last week, and Kriss Brining, who takes Lee’s number nine shirt.
It should not be overlooked, either, that George Elliott and Jack Aldous are still in their first seasons of open-age rugby, and Dario Esposito is still new to England.
Thorman said of Carter, who recently signed a two-year pro deal: “He’s a good kid. It’s a big step up, though, from playing U18s and for Wakefield College to playing against one of the top Championship sides.
“But he’s trained well and he’s got a great attitude, a great work ethic and he listens. He’s worthy of a shot and I’m sure he will do himself justice.”
“He’s small but he’s smart. He’s a bit different to both Jack and Kriss. He takes good options, he can play the line and he’s quick.
“He’s got a lot of work to do, especially in the gym. But hopefully some of the senior players around him will help him.”
Of Ellis, Thorman said: “He did himself proud last week, considering the circumstances.”
Speaking specifically about defensive duties the youngsters will face, he added: “Liam’s a bigger lad than Harry but again defensively he’s going to be tested by some physically confrontational people.
“It’s a great test but I know they’re all enjoying it.”
Having faced top two Featherstone and Halifax in the last fortnight, the Knights go to the third-placed Bulldogs tomorrow.
Thorman said of John Kear’s men: “They’re one of the strongest sides in the league. They’re going to be in the mix come the end of the season.”
John Davies will play his penultimate fixture for York before switching to Batley.
Batley (possible): Campbell, Potts, Walton, Maun, Brown, Black, Moore, B Smith, Mennell, Potter, Bretherton, Applegarth, Lindsay. Subs: from Wildie, Hirst, A Walmsley, L Walmsley, J Green, Buttery.
Knights: B Dent, Elliott, Pryce, Poutney, Garside, Thorman, Craig, Sullivan, Brining, Aldous, Davies, Esposito, Freer. Subs: from Ellis, Sutton, Carter, E Smith, A Haynes.
Referee: Matthew Thomason (Warrington).