Full back Simon Hammersley talks to the Newcastle Falcons website on the back of three impressive pre-season appearances for the club.
Simon Hammersley continued to impress in Friday's game against Edinburgh only months after signing his first professional contract with Newcastle Falcons.
After completing an Economics degree at Durham University Hammersley, 21, signed full-time terms with the Falcons Academy this summer just over a year after originally impressing for the club in the 2013 Premiership Rugby 7s.
Another sterling performance in the opening round of this year's competition saw the Full Back selected for senior first team action in the Falcons' opening pre-season fixture of the year away to French side Avignon Bayonnais.
The game marked the first of three consecutive pre-season games for the youngster, whose goal prior to this year's 7s competition was simply to feature in the senior squad at some point during the season ahead.
Speaking after Friday's final pre-season fixture against Edinburgh, Hammersley was feeling good but tired. "Pre-season has been great. Training has been tough, but I've been involved in all three games and it's been great to be involved. I didn't envisage myself being involved as much as I have been and it's great to get those opportunities so early on."
Drafted into the squad as a result of his dedication to training, the youngster is obliging about the opportunities that have come his way. "It's been a great opportunity. Maybe a few injuries have helped me to get involved but before I started the season the only thing I wanted was to get an opportunity and Dean, Wellsy and the coaches have given me that."
Taking full advantage of the opportunities on offer, three strong performances have seen Hammersley lauded by many as one to watch amongst the next generation of Falcons, but the former England Students international remains humble.
"When we played away in Bayonne I was a bit nervous and could feel I wasn't that comfortable out there but I'd like to say I've grown into it a bit during the game against Rotherham and again in Hawick. I feel more comfortable now but it's just a matter of trying to do my job and fit into the team as best I can."
Having played his part in helping Durham lift the BUCS Cup at Twickenham last year, Hammersley is no stranger to big games. However, he admits that mixing with the likes of the Tuilagi brothers and other members of the senior squad has been a new experience.
"It's a very strange feeling going from uni rugby, where everyone on the pitch is a student to playing alongside people you've watched on TV for years, seen play for their countries and things like that.
“It's a great honour to be out there with them but it's a matter of not being too over-awed that you're on the pitch with them because they're just another one of your team."
With the dawn of the new season fast approaching and last season's Player's Player of the Year Alex Tait returning to full fitness, Hammersley is far from complacent about his next steps. "Personally moving forward it's just to keep training hard, being willing and hopefully get some more opportunities and grab them when I can."
Newcastle Falcons kick off their 2014-15 season away to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road this Saturday. The club’s first home game will be played on Sunday 14th September against London Irish (ko 3pm).
For more information about 2014-15 Season Tickets or individual match tickets for that game click here or call our 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.