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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Former Whitehaven winger relishing challenge ahead at North Wales

Ex-Whitehaven flyer Loz Hamzat is ready to push hard for his place with North Wales after joining the fancied Championship One outfit for 2013.

Loz Hamzat  photo
Loz Hamzat

Crusaders boss Clive Griffiths was impressed with the winger for Haven last term, and believes he will add to stiff competition out wide.

“There’s no answer to pace,” Griffiths said. “When we played Whitehaven we identified him as one of the threats going forward.

“Every time I saw him, he made good yards and did some good things. We’ll knock off some rough edges to his game and he’s a good player, who will add to us, without a doubt.

“We have a satellite training centre in the north west, so it’s not far for him to travel.

“There will be healthy competition. We have three or four good wingers and plenty of games to play.”

Haven had been quick to snap up Hamzat for last season after an encouraging 2011, when he was player of the tournament for Cumbria in the national Nines finals in Leeds, in addition to scoring seven tries in 14 club games before a knee injury brought an early end to his campaign.

But he scored just four in 14 in 2012 and while Haven would have been happy to keep him next term, they were not prepared to offer a big contract.

Hamzat will be joined in Wrexham by ex-Workington Town prop Ryan MacDonald.

North Wales opted against entering a partnership with a Super League club for 2013, though many still fancy them for a successful second year in the competition.

“Some people are getting ahead of themselves and saying we are the team to get promoted,” said cautious Griffifths, who is looking for an improvement on a steady debut campaign, when they won seven of 18 league games.

“We know we have to raise the bar even further.”

Meanwhile, Haven’s planned TV clash at Sheffield on Thursday, June 6, will not now be televised on Premier Sports.

It will instead be played three days later, in line with other Championship fixtures.

“It’s because of the distances involved in travelling on a Thursday night,” chief executive Barry Richardson explained. “We hadn’t said we wanted it changed, and it came out of the blue to us.

“It would have been good for our fans who have Premier Sports to watch it on TV, but it’s probably better for those who plan to travel to Sheffield if it is played on the Sunday.”

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