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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Hopes high Egremont Rangers ace will be fit for GB tour

Egremont Rangers are keeping fingers crossed that scrum-half Paul Corkhill is still able to take his place on a Great Britain Under-23 tour to Jamaica in June after breaking his leg in his club’s thrilling Challenge Cup clash with Oldham last week.

Paul Corkhill photo
Paul Corkhill

The progressive amateur outfit produced one of the performances of the round to scare Championship One’s early leaders before going down 22-14 at the Recre.

But the tremendous effort was marred by news that Corkhill had broken his leg in the match.

“The good news from this, if there is any, is that it’s not a main support bone that’s broken, so we’re hoping it doesn’t deter him going to Jamaica,” said Bobby Richards, club president.

“It happened in an innocuous incident, there was nothing dirty. He’s on crutches now and hopefully things will turn out right for him.”

He is the second west Cumbrian who hoped to tour the Caribbean with the young GB squad this summer to suffer a bad break.

Cockermouth prop Johnny Goulding dislocated and fractured his ankle in another innocuous tackle in the Cumberland League opener against Maryport at the start of the month.

Promoted Egremont return to National Conference action tomorrow at Milford Marlins after winning their opening two matches in Division One.

Prop Mally Caton, who with Rob Purdham is an assistant coach to John Brocklebank at Gillfoot Park, picked up a few knocks after leading from the front against Oldham, though it is hoped he can resume tomorrow.

“Take nothing away from the lads, they give 200 per cent and we’re pleased with what we’ve got, but we could do with a couple more big lads, just to give the likes of Mally a rest,” Richards added.

“We have speed all-round and young Kieran Glenn (second-row) is probably as fast as some of the backs. Summer rugby should suit us as it’s top-of-the-ground stuff.

“We’ll be happy to consolidate this season and it’s too early to talk about promotion. We’ll take whatever comes along.

“Our aspirations are to get in to the Premier Division and we should achieve it, if not this year, next year. I’m not saying we won’t do it this year.

“The lads will take some raising after last week but they are keen and all together. They have great belief in each other.”

In one sense, it might have been better for Milford if Egremont had beaten Oldham.

“If that result had been different we would still be celebrating and might not have got a team for Milford,” joked Richards.

After the Amateur Cup clashes of last week, the Cumberland League returns to full-scale action with Seaton A making the very short trip tonight to – Seaton – to face their own first-team in Division One. The pick of the fixtures is tomorrow at Glasson, in third, who host early-season leaders Distington.

Kells travel to Hensingham in an all-Whitehaven clash, and Maryport, who have shown some encouraging signs, are at Wath Brow.

Kells products Jordan Burns, Bradley Thompson and Dominic Wear, and Ellenborough’s Bradley Lawrence will feature for England Youth over Easter.

Lawrence and Burns have been named for a two-Test series against France, the first away on Good Friday and the return on April 10. Wear and Thompson have been named in the squad to tackle Wales on April 4.

“Both sets of players have big tests coming up and they’ll be presented with different types of challenges,” said England Youth coach Dave Elliott, from Whitehaven.

“We know the French side will be physical, and their age groups always give us a strong test. And Wales will put up a strong fight as well, so this is a fantastic opportunity for these lads to experience what it’s like to play in an international game.”

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