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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Super League giants St Helens agree to face Haven

Whitehaven are to face new Super League partners St Helens in a pre-season clash next year.

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Big draw: England hooker James Roby

The two clubs recently signed a partnership agreement signalling close relations, and Haven are delighted at the latest move.

“St Helens have said they will sort out a trial game, and that’s great for our boys,” said coach Dave Woods.

Saints completed arrangements for their pre-season schedule this year before they penned the agreement with Haven, leaving no room for a game ahead of the 2013 campaign.

But they are likely to be a big draw next year, potentially with big names such as England hooker James Roby in their ranks.

Haven’s old partners Leeds Rhinos played regular pre-season games at the Recre, though were unable to commit this year.

Woods has been impressed with Saints’ attitude to their new relationship with his club, which will see a couple of players from their Super League squad available to Haven if wanted.

“If we want players we can have them, and if we don’t that’s fine,” he continued. “St Helens haven’t asked for a penny from us. This is not a takeover.”

Haven’s forthcoming pre-season tests are against Gateshead at the Recre, and on the road at Barrow and Carcassonne.

Meanwhile, Trust in Haven are appealing for members to get behind the supporter-led group.

After well-publicised difficulties in 2011, fans were given free membership this year. But a fee will be introduced from January 1, to help finance the trust’s activities. Annual membership will cost £20 for adults and £10 for concessions.

“We are back on track,” said Dave Farrell, trust chairman. “We feel we have a role to play within the club, and we have a good relationship with the chief executive and the board, which hopefully will help us move forward and achieve our objectives.

“Our main objective is to become an active partner in the running of the club.

“It’s important that existing members support the trust’s fund-raising activities. We are totally transparent in what we are about, and we offer a decent package of benefits to make it worthwhile.”

The trust runs its own events, is expanding its merchandising range, and its website streams Haven match videos, to members only.

A new trust board is now in place, though vacancies remain for those who feel they could make an impact.

The trust contributed a four-figure sum to the signing of young half-back Cain Southernwood, and is fund-raising for the son of star player Jamie Rooney. Brennan Rooney suffered brain damage after he was born nine weeks premature in 2002.

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