Tag Archives: Rugby League

Local duo settling in to life at the Rams

Two young cousins are currently benefiting from the Dewsbury Rams philosophy of trying to bring through local players.

Brad and James Delaney both played their amateur rugby at Dewsbury Moor, before recently signing one-year deals for the professional rugby league side in January 2015.

Their surnames may sound familiar as Brad is the son of former Rams and Leeds Rhinos half-back Paul Delaney, who played 39 first team games for Leeds and made over 300 appearances for Dewsbury, all between 1985 and 2002.

Paul said: “I am very proud of them both as they have the ability to do well and have worked incredibly hard, so they deserve a shot in the professional ranks.

“Hard work and determination goes a long way, so hopefully they will get a chance at the Rams.

“How far they can go is up to them, they have got their foot on the ladder but now they need to work out what is required to become a first teamer.”

Paul also said he has many great memories at the club, and still goes to watch the Rams on a regular basis, claiming that the spectators are second to none and always give him a fantastic reception.

Left: Brad Delaney as a Dewsbury Rams player, Right: Brad with his dad Paul back when he played. Image courtesy of pitchero.com

Left: Brad Delaney as a Dewsbury Rams player, Right: Brad with his dad Paul back when he played. Image courtesy of Steven Horsfall Photography.

Brad, 19, who plays scrum-half, feels he is settling in great at the Rams, and added: “All the players and staff have made me feel welcome and there is always a great vibe around the place.

“I’m gaining a lot of valuable experience in training and in matches, as most of the time we all train together so I can learn a lot from  the more experienced players, and the coaching staff are always helping me in ways to improve.

“I am enjoying playing for the club my dad used to play for and I feel proud as he is well known throughout the club.”

The goal-kicking scrum-half went on to praise his father, who he says has played a massive part in the success in his career so far.

“My dad has been a massive factor and helped me most throughout my career, ever since I can remember we used to train in the gardens, he’s shown me how to pass, kick, side step and tackle.”

James Delaney as a Dewsbury. Image courtesy of pitchero.com.

James Delaney as a Dewsbury Ram player. Image courtesy of Steven Horsfall Photography.

Meanwhile James, a 23 year-old forward, realises that while he has earned a contract, there is still work to be done.

He added: “The games after have been relatively positive for me with the feed I have received, but there is still plenty of things I can improve on.

“It’s a great feeling playing alongside Brad, he’s a very talented player and the fact that he’s my cousin makes it that little bit more special.”

He looked back at when he watched the Rams as a youngster, and said: “I remember watching my uncle Paul playing as a young boy and wishing that one day I could be in his shoes, and now I feel as though I am heading in the right direction so hopefully one day I can make that dream.”

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Youngster Cooper continues pre-season progress against hometown club

As the start of the 2015 rugby league season approaches, players are looking to impress their coaches and stake a claim for a place in the first team.

This applies to Luke Cooper, 20, of Featherstone Rovers, who was recently awarded a place in the first team squad for the warm up games against Castleford Tigers and Batley Bulldogs.

Unfortunately for Cooper, he was on the losing side in both games, as Rovers lost 18-0 to the Tigers, and 26-6 against the Bulldogs.

Luke Cooper in action against Batley Bulldogs last Sunday.

Featherstone’s Luke Cooper in action against Batley Bulldogs last Sunday.

Despite the result, The Bulldogs game was a major highlight in his career, as Batley are his hometown club.

He said: “It was probably the greatest moment of my life to date, to run out on the field in front of over 1000 spectators was such an electrifying experience.

“It was different to anything I’d played in before, I felt like I had to play well in front of all my family and friends, and make them proud.

“If I’m honest I never thought I would be playing because Featherstone are a great team with so many good forwards, so to get my name on the team sheet was a fantastic feeling and it was made that extra bit sweeter that it was against a team that I had watched and supported as a child.”

The young forward looked back at his performance at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, and added: “I’m super critical of my performance so personally I didn’t think I played the best I could have, and I know I have a lot to learn so hopefully I can do as much training as possible, work hard, and get to that required consistent level of performance.”

In 2014, Rovers sent Cooper and another teammate over to Australia in an exciting six-month trip, with the aim for them to gain valuable experience playing at a higher level in the Sydney Group 6 Country League.

This life-changing opportunity provided Cooper with the chance to develop his skills on the pitch, and experience a different culture and lifestyle.

“We received plenty of game time in Australia and have learnt a lot, the whole experience was unforgettable and I am thankful to the club that I was offered this unbelievable opportunity.”

He is now looking to establish himself as first team player for Featherstone Rovers, and play a part in helping the club challenge for a place in the Super League.

Walmsley goes from amateur rugby to Grand Final winner in less than three years

Walking out in front of a sold out Old Trafford for the biggest game in the rugby league season is what every amateur player dreams of.

That dream became reality for Dewsbury’s Alex Walmsley, after he helped St Helens win the Super League Grand Final, by beating rivals Wigan Warriors 14-6 back in October.

Alex Walmsley celebrating with the Grand Final Trophy

Alex Walmsley celebrating with the Grand Final Trophy

This is a remarkable achievement when you consider less than three years ago, the 24-year-old was playing with local amateurs Dewsbury Celtic.

“It’s been a turbulent three years, it’s been unbelievable and I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Walmsley.

“I’ve been to numerous Grand Finals watching as a kid, and to walk out in front of 70,000 fans on the biggest stage of all was a surreal experience, and is the pinnacle point in my career so far.”

Just two and a half years ago Walmsley was playing for Dewsbury Celtic in the local cup against Birstall Victoria.

“Back then if anybody would have said to me that in less than three years time I would be lifting the biggest trophy in club rugby league I would have said they were mad,” he said.

“It’s what you dream of doing as a kid and it’s what I dreamed of doing when I was 20-years-old playing for Dewsbury Celtic.

“With a bit of luck, some great coaching, and the support of my family and friends, I was lucky enough to go on and achieve this.

“I have had to make sacrifices, but that comes with it, and when you lift up that trophy it makes it all seem so easy and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

The young prop was handed a trial at Batley Bulldogs by coach John Kear after seeing Walmsley impress during games for his University side in Leeds.

“I played my first league game against Leigh Centurions after I was lucky enough to get a spot on the bench, I came on and played well and from then on I played every single week, it was brilliant.”

He was then offered a two-year deal by the Bulldogs, and after a successful first season was selected in the Championship team of the year, received Batley’s player of the year, and the Championship’s young player of the year award.

“For me, at the time, playing for Batley was the pinnacle in my career, it’s a great club, is very family orientated and is full of great people.”

After proving to be a revelation at Batley, St Helens were interested in signing the young star, and he signed a three-year deal with the Super League side.

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Images courtesy of Alex Walmsley.

He said: “As soon as I came to St Helens and looked at the place, with all the history behind the club, I thought this is where I want to be, and when I signed it was a massive honour.

“I remember sitting in the changing rooms with all the St Helens stars, and I felt privileged to have the opportunity to play with them.

“To be able to go on a pitch and call these players my teammates, it’s what dreams are made of and it’s the best feeling in the world.”

Due to numerous injuries in the St Helens side, Walmsley got his chance, and he certainly took his opportunity by making a serious impression throughout the Super League in his first few games.

He admitted that playing as many games as he did took him by surprise, and that playing in a Grand Final surpassed any expectations, but the humble 24-year-old is now an established squad member at the Saints, and is determined to keep working hard in what for him, will hopefully be another successful season.

Walmsley gave a lot of credit to his former coach at Dewsbury Celtic, Paul Heaton, and acknowledged how hard he worked with him during his time at Celtic.

“He definitely had a big influence on the player I am today and he really stuck at me in those early days and got me back loving the game.

“I will always go back and watch the boys play at Celtic, you can never forget your roots and I’m proud of where I’ve come from.”