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Rhys Clarke’s birthday boost
RHYS CLARKE will celebrate his 21st birthday on Monday – and will do so as the first Press Player of the Month for 2012.
It’s an award well deserved, according to player-boss Chris Thorman, for a player who arrived at Huntington Stadium 15 months ago as a relative unknown from Gateshead but who has established himself as a first-team regular.
Paul King found himself high up in the readers’ poll such was his outstanding performance in the win over Gateshead but injuries have meant that was his only outing of the season to date. Back-rower Clarke is one of only five players who featured in all four games in March – the quartet of Northern Rail Cup fixtures all coming in the space of 13 days.
Thorman had actually considered giving his fellow Geordie a rest last week but instead started him again, a decision which paid off with another consistent show – and with the Knights’ only try of the night in what was their first defeat of term.
Said Thorman: “He’s played a lot of minutes. I’ve said before about the impact on the body of playing so many games in a short space of time. He’s young so you would expect him to pull up all right but at the same time he shows fantastic attitude and commitment.
“He tries hard every time and his performances have been really consistent. I can’t pick out moments when he’s been poor.”
The player-boss could also not hide his delight in seeing another North Easterner do well for a club in rugby league’s heartlands.
“Just because you’re not from a hotbed does not mean you can’t be good at the game,” said Thorman – himself the most obvious example to back that statement up.
“He does everything he’s asked and is really easy to coach. I think he’s got a big future in the game.
“He’s got a lot of things to work on but he’s started off really well in his career, and in this season.”
Clarke’s Player of the Month award will be presented at the Knights’ next home match, against Halifax a week tomorrow.
The accolade garners Clarke three bonus points for his Press Player of the Year tally, so he now heads that leaderboard.
Press Player of the Year standings: Clarke 5pts, Bush 4, Aldous 3, King 3, Thorman 3, Garside 3, Lee 3, Hellewell 2, Ford 1.
TRIBUTES continued to come in for former Knights director Dave Gorwood following the news of his death on Wednesday, aged 67.
Life-long York RL fan Gorwood, who was on the board from the club’s outset in 2002 until 2007 and remained a vice-president and sponsor, passed away after a battle with cancer.
The Press reported on Thursday that club chairman John Guildford wrote on Facebook: “Lost a great mate. Rest in peace, pal.”
Guildford added: “He was a top man and we will all miss him. He did a lot more than people know for York City Knights.”
Former captain Dan Potter, on hearing the news, wrote: “Can’t believe it. Top bloke.”
More tributes followed.
Among them, assistant-coach and former player Mick Ramsden wrote on Twitter: “Terrible news about Dave Gorwood, a great man and a big part of the Knights’ family. He will be missed.”
Heworth ARLC product Liam Watling, who now plays with York Lokos, wrote on Facebook: “What a gentle giant. Will be missed. Really top bloke. Great loss to the Knights.”
Dave Buckley, the former Knights favourite now back in his native Australia, wrote: “Real nice guy, lucky to have met him.”
Fan Gail Brown wrote: “A true gentleman.” Fellow supporter Tony Brown wrote: “A great bloke. Will be sadly missed.”
Another fan, Mike Smith, added: “Our thoughts go to all of Dave’s family. RIP, Dave.”
Gorwood’s funeral will take place on Wednesday at 10.20am at York Crematorium. Knights fans are welcome to join friends and family in paying respects.
JACK STEARMAN scored a try on his return to action after a lengthy lay-off but York City Knights reserves lost 20-12 to Halifax in their first game of the year on Thursday night.
As reported on thepress.co.uk yesterday, Dave Sutton also scored to boost his hopes of being selected for the first team for tomorrow’s Championship opener at Dewsbury. Sutton and George Elliott are vying the vacant wing berth, with both being taken off for the final quarter on Thursday and named in the provisional 19-man squad.
The reserves, re-formed last month, gave a decent show, especially considering they were without Joe Hemmings, a late withdrawal due to injury, and lost fellow forward Haiden Barber with a head injury ten minutes before half-time.
This meant Stearman, who hasn’t played since dislocating an elbow on his Scotland debut in October, and Davey Burns played big minutes as the only recognised props, while trialist Liam Anoln, who actually came to the club as a half-back, also did a stint up front, and winger Sutton played for a time in the second row.
Another of the trialists, Aiden Siburn, was enthusiastic after coming on at centre for the second half, and under-18s starlet Ash Haynes showed up well. John Gay also impressed at hooker as he continues his push for a first-team call.
It was 10-10 early in the second half but Fax went ahead from a lucky repeat set – gained from a knock-on after Stearman had charged down a kick – and sealed it with another try from close range.
Knights head coach Chris Thorman praised the youngsters in the side. “They were good,” he said. “They’ve not had a lot of time together as a team but there were lots of positives.
“Their attitude was great. It’s a breath of fresh air talking to them – they’re so positive. I love that about them. It actually cheers me up when speaking to kids like that because they’re so enthusiastic about the game.”