From a young age it was apparent that there was something special about Andrew Bulman – and it came as no surprise to his former amateur side that he wrote his way into Whitehaven’s history books at the weekend.

Bulman sailed over for six tries in Haven’s 74-4 Coral Challenge Cup triumph over Wigan St Patrick’s on Sunday and in doing so he equalled the club’s individual try-scoring record in one match, held since 1984 by Vince Gribbin.

Centre Gribbin scored his six tries in a match against Doncaster on November 18 1984, and it took until last Sunday and a special performance from Bulman to equal the achievement.

Ian Rooney, his former coach at Wath Brow Hornets, said he always knew that the youngster was destined for big things and that everyone at the club was immensely proud of him and the other former Hornets playing across the country, including Jake Moore at Haven.

“He always had the right physical attributes, he was athletic from a young age,” said Rooney.

“His father John was a fantastic player as well, and both of his parents encouraged him and were always at Wath Brow games when he played.

“He was a lad who never missed training and you could clearly see he had what it took to be a good player, quick and strong and talented.

“From an early age he scored ties that were exceptional in their nature. They were not just a catch and run for 10-metres, he would be going 60, 70 or 80 metres from around 12 years old.”

But one skill that really set him on the road to greater things was his constant thirst for more knowledge of the game, and Rooney said he took it all in.

“He was always an attentive listener and wanted to develop his game. He moved up to open age around 15/16 and was always willing to listen and learn,” added Rooney.

“Obviously being picked up by Warrington Academy meant the amount of times he played for our seniors was curtailed but he always kept in touch.”

And he always had that flair that made him stand out, with Rooney saying he had some similar attributes to another former Wath Brow flier who made his name in the Haven ranks – Craig Calvert.

“Andrew reads the game well and is keen to receive the ball, he wants to have that impact,” said Rooney.

“He know he can influence the game and wants to express himself. Sometimes the way you play the game can be regimented but not Andrew he would go looking for the ball to do something.

“He could always pull that little piece of magic out – a little bit Calvertesque at times, although they do have different attributes.

“We are all just so proud of everyone who comes through the ranks at Wath Brow and it was no surprise to us when he equalled the record.

“I mean it is a phenomenal feat to even core a hat-trick, never mind six tries, no matter who the opposition is.

“I messaged him as head coach at Wath Brow and he always got back to you. I think it’s important to keep in touch and let him know we are all still thinking of him.

“I fully expect to see him on the sidelines if we are playing as his friends are all still Wath Brow lads.

“I think he will be a real asset to Whitehaven and I am delighted both for him and Whitehaven. And with that I also have to pay tribute to another of our former players, Jake Moore, who has also set the season off so well. We are proud of them all.”

Andrew Bulman certainly always had the pedigree to be a top player, with his father John also delighting the Recreation Ground terraces in his time.

John Bulman was a fans’ favourite during his time at the club and is credited with one of the finest tries scored at the Recre, so for his son to now follow in his footsteps was a proud moment for the family.

After a spell with Warrington’s Academy, Bulman junior was a star rugby union player at Kirkham Grammar School, near Blackpool, where his performances alerted top clubs in Scotland, but it was rugby league and Hull FC who won the day.

He only joined Hull Academy in September but the 19-year-old winger didn’t settle on Humberside and was de-registered by the Super League club before coming to Haven.

And his current coach Gary Charlton believes they may have a real star in the making.

“We all knew that he could play from watching clips of him,” said Charlton. “He has benefited from being at the academies at Warrington and then Hull, and to get a contract with a Super League club is no mean feat.

“He has knuckled down, trained hard and he is a really strong and fast player so has all the attributes to be a really good rugby league player.

“When he gets the ball there is a bit of excitement as you see it in his hands. People expect him to do something, which this week he certainly has done.

“The quality of the opposition is maybe not what he will face every week but you still have to take your chances and that’s what he did.

“He has had a great attitude since he joined the club. He has trained really hard and hopefully he will just get better and better, which is all down to him.”