Over the past few months, Durham, Northumberland and Cumbria under-18s and under-16s have been in action against each other as well as playing against Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
All the players have been vying for selection in their respective North of England squads in a bid to represent England later in the season. The Academy are delighted to announce that more than 20 players from the region have made it to the next stage of the programme, which is the 45-player development squads. These will be cut down to a match day squad of around 25 in the New Year and we all wish each of them well in their endeavours:
Sean Dowling (prop, Astley High School, Blyth RFC, Northumberland) James Orritt (prop, Dame Allans School, Blaydon RFC, Northumberland) Jack Beckwith (hooker, Barnard Castle School, Consett RFC, Durham) Aidan Coulthard (second row, West Lakes College, Egremont RFC, Cumbria) Michael Walton (second row, St Johns School, Durham City RFC, Durham) Alex Moon (second row, Sedbergh School, Cumbria) George Hogan (backrow, Sedbergh School, Cumbria) Joe Craggs (backrow, Hummersknott School, Mowden Park RFC, Durham) Callum Chick (backrow, Ponteland High School, Ponteland RFC, Northumberland) Johnny McPhillips (fly half, Sedbergh School, Cumbria) Adam Redman (centre, Durham School, Durham) Dan Marshall (back 3, Gosforth Academy, Ponteland RFC, Northumberland) Callum Burn (back 3, Dutchess High School, Alnwick RFC, Northumberland)
The Combined Counties U16 Squad (far) line up for minutes silence on 11th November ahead of their clash against Lancashire which ended in an 18-18 draw (insert image).
James Addyman (prop, Keswick School, Keswick RFC, Cumbria) David Nelson (hooker, Durham School, Durham City RFC, Durham) Guy Coser (backrow, Barnard Castle School, Durham) Jon Coser (backrow, Barnard Castle School, Durham) Nick Cairns (backrow, Prudhoe High School, Tynedale RFC, Northumberland) Ollie Hodgson (backrow, Gosforth Academy, Middlesbrough RFC, Durham) Craig Willis (fly half, Durham School, Durham) Eldon Myers (centre, Hartlepool 6th Form College, Billingham RFC, Durham) Regi Fasa (centre, Barnard Castle School, Durham) Brendan Cleary (centre, QES Kirkby Lonsdale School, Kirkby Lonsdale RFC, Cumbria) Sean Brown (wing, Mowden Park RFC, Durham) Tom Penny (back 3, RGS Newcastle, Alnwick RFC, Northumberland)
Falcons academy manager Mark Laycock said: “It’s great to see so many players being given the opportunity. I remember only a few years ago at under-16 level, only one player from our region made it through to the North of England squad, and one of the players who missed out was Joel Hodgson, who has gone on to do very well.
“We are extremely proud of our heritage and the local rugby scene has always been strong so it is pleasing that the players, their clubs, schools and counties are getting the recognition they deserve and a chance to experience higher levels of rugby. A lot of work goes into developing players at the grassroots level and the volunteer coaches and managers involved do a fantastic job."