IN what has been hailed as a resounding success for cross-party co-operation, the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group has today received confirmation that the North West Development Agency has agreed to honour its financial commitments to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.The tournament, to be played across England and Wales, will see games taking place in a number of regions, including several in the north west of England. But since the announcement that Regional Development Agencies are to be abolished, the Government instructed these public bodies to reduce spending, including invoking any break clauses in contracts. This lead to the NWDA threatening to withdraw previously agreed funding, putting games in the region in jeopardy.“The 2013 Rugby League World Cup is the first international tournament to take place in Britain after the 2012 London Olympics and provides opportunity to grow the sporting legacy of the Games and to ensure that people of all ages continue to take part in sport throughout the UK”; said Group Vice-Chairman Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West. “Members of the Group, led by those in the north west have leading the charge in what has been an excellent demonstration of the Group working together.”As well as Questions in Parliament, Members of Parliament wrote to the Agency, making clear their concerns and asking the NWDA to reconsider honouring their agreements made with the Rugby Football League as tournament organiser.One of the MPs whose constituents were affected is Group Secretary, Derek Twigg, Member of Parliament for Halton. On receiving the letter from the NWDA, he said: “On behalf of the Group, I wrote to the NWDA Chairman stressing that any decision to reduce or remove funding would have significant implications for the north west region that they serve and making clear that as one of the final major decisions the agency would have to take, a decision to remain committed to the World Cup would leave a significant lasting impression on the region. I’m delighted they’ve decided to continue supporting the tournament and I think it’s absolutely the right choice.”One MP that had been particularly vocal in Parliament is David Mowat, Member of Parliament for Warrington South who asked questions of his Government-bench colleague, Sports Minister Hugh Robertson.He said: “The Government committed themselves to ensuring the successful delivery of the World Cup, but my concern has always been that those of us in the north west would suffer through a nuance of one of the Government’s cost cutting measures. Independent studies have shown that the tournament will generate significant economic input for the region so it always seemed foolish to break an agreement of this scale. The NWDA have made the right choice, and I am looking forward to seeing the Halliwell Jones Stadium play host to some outstanding test matches.”The Group remains resolute in its support to the World Cup and will continue to work with the RFL and all Government bodies to ensure that a successful, world-class tournament goes ahead and is enjoyed by millions in the UK and overseas.
“It’s nice recognition to receive,” he said. “There are a lot of quality players throughout the Super League but obviously to get that recognition is a nice feeling.“You want to be in the best in your position. Every week you try your best and keep doing the best you can for your team, town and club. I feel like I have tried to do that.“James Roby and Alex Walmsley have been immense too and deserve some recognition but as a team we have got massive job to do on Thursday and hopefully we can give the fans what they want and get into the final once again.”Percival leads Saints into Thursday’s game as the club’s top try scorer.He also kicked five from five the last time the two sides met – Saints winning 26-12 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.“If you look at the season as a whole I suppose it has been up and down, but like Justin said recently, over the last three or so months we have been consistent,” he added. “If we have lost a game it has been by a small margin. Now we are in the semi final which was something we wanted to achieve.“Both teams are 80 minutes from a Grand Final. We can take a lot of confidence from the games over the last few weeks. Cas are a great side and will test us but I feel if we are good defensively then we will give ourselves a really good chance.”
The lads made their annual trip to the Children’s Ward to meet the patients, parents and staff, and drop off some Saintly gifts.At this time of year it can be hard for patients and their families to be in Hospital so this is our way of spreading a little festive cheer at a tough time.We’d like to thank everyone at Whiston Hospital for making us feel so welcome and we wish them all a Merry Christmas.Also, we’d like to extend a big thank you to Nick Walker from Ellison’s Travel who organised transport to the hospital today.Ellison’s are our new executive coach supplier to the first team and academy squads.
The 23-year-old back rower will link up with his new teammates for the 2019 season.Batchelor, the brother of Wakefield Trinity star James, first played under York head coach James Ford in the Wakefield College team, before joining Sheffield Eagles’ academy and then having a year in Australia.He returned to the UK in 2016 for a spell at Coventry Bears and moved to the Minster city the following year.An outstanding 2017 saw Joe named both the Player of the Year and The York Press Player of the Year following his debut season at the club, which saw him score 15 tries in 22 appearances.Despite attracting interest from Super League, Batchelor signed an improved deal at York and to date has made nine appearances in 2018, scoring ten tries – including a try against Catalans Dragons in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.“Joe is a player we have had our eyes on this season,” Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook said. “He has been a real standout in Betfred League 1 this year and has been very consistent for a competitive York side.“He is a strong running second rower with good skill and he also has a great work ethic. He has now matured as a player and hopefully he will continue to improve with us at Saints.“We are looking forward to welcoming him into our system.”Commenting on his move, Joe said: “I’m delighted to have signed with St Helens from next season and have the unbelievable opportunity to train in a full time environment with world class players and hopefully play Super League rugby.“I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at York, especially Jon, Fordy and all the coaching staff for the amount of hard work they’ve put into getting me to this stage.“I am still 100% committed to finishing my year at York and making sure it ends with promotion to the Championship.”
Last Ten Meetings:Castleford 18, St Helens 36 (CCR6, 12/5/18) St Helens 46, Castleford 6 (SLR1, 2/2/18) Castleford 23, St Helens 22 (SLSF, 28/9/17) Castleford 12, St Helens 26 (SLS8-R1, 3/8/17) Castleford 16, St Helens 12 (SLR17, 4/6/17) Castleford 53, St Helens 10 (CCR6, 13/5/17) St Helens 26, Castleford 22 (SLR10, 17/4/17) St Helens 40, Castleford 16 (SLS8-R5, 8/9/16) Castleford 20, St Helens 30 (SLR13, 1/5/16) St Helens 28, Castleford 22 (SLR4, 4/3/16)Super League Summary:Castleford won 7 (includes win in 2017 play-offs) St Helens won 41 (includes wins in 1999 and 2014 play-offs) 1 drawHighs and Lows:Castleford highest score: 36-22 (H, 2002) (Widest margin: 35-16, H, 1997) St Helens highest score: 72-4 (A, 2006) (also widest margin)Super League Head to Head:SaintsCastleford Tries86 (1st)44 (7th)Goals73 (1st)49 (4th)Metres21,308 (1st)15,718 (11th)Breaks114 (1st)57 (11th)Tackles4,981 (4th)4,343 (7th)Penalties107 (10th)102 (12th)Miletsones:James Roby needs one try to reach a century of touchdowns for St Helens. He has scored 99 tries in 412 games for the Saints since 2004.Castleford’s Liam Watts is appearance away from 200 (57 for Hull KR, 2008 & 2010-12; 135 for Hull FC, 2012-2018 and 7 for Castleford, 2018)Try Scoring Runs:Regan Grace (1-2-2-1-2) has scored tries in our last five matches.Betfred Super League Leading Scorers:Tries: 1 Ben Barba (St Helens) 16 2 Mark Percival (St Helens) 14 3 Fetuli Talanoa (Hull FC) 12 4 = Ben Jones-Bishop (Wakefield Trinity), Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors) 10 6 = Regan Grace (St Helens), Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors) 9 8 = Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity), Tom Lineham (Warrington Wolves), Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors) 8Goals: 1 Danny Richardson (St Helens) 73 2 Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors) 49 3 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 47 4 Ryan Shaw (Hull Kingston Rovers) 44 5 Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos) 34 6 Liam Finn (Wakefield Trinity) 33 7 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 31 8 Tom Gilmore (Widnes Vikings) 28 9 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 27 10 Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) 25Goals Percentage: 1 Jake Connor (Hull FC) 94.11 (16/17) 2 Ryan Shaw (Hull Kingston Rovers) 88.00 (44/50) 3 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 87.09 (27/31) 4 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 86.11 (31/36) 5 Tom Gilmore (Widnes Vikings) 84.84 (28/33) 6 = Robert Lui (Salford Red Devils) (24/30), Lucas Albert (Catalans Dragons) 80.00 (12/15) 8 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 78.33 (47/60) 9 Jamie Ellis (Castleford Tigers) 78.26 (18/23) 10 Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) 78.12 (25/32)Points: 1 Danny Richardson (St Helens) 160 2 Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors) 123 3 Ryan Shaw (Hull Kingston Rovers) 112 4 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 102 5 Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos) 96 6 Liam Finn (Wakefield Trinity) 74 7 = Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) 70 9 = Ben Barba (St Helens), Robert Lui (Salford Red Devils) 64
In association with our Official Kit Partner O’Neills, our brand new range of t-shirts, polo shirts, vests and squad tops have now landed at the Saints Superstore.The new range is crafted around the incredibly popular 2019 away shirt colour scheme of bright blue, navy and grey.The range also features the return of an old classic – the Saints Stickman, which is displayed on the chest of some of the key pieces of the range.The lightweight garments are ideal for Summer holidays, weekends out or for exercising and also can mix and match with pieces from the current 2019 main Trainingwear range.The range is available in limited stock levels from Small through to 4XL.A limited selection of the new range is also available in children’s sizes.You can shop the range both in store at the Totally Wicked Stadium or online here.,The new range is crafted around the incredibly popular 2019 away shirt colour scheme of bright blue, navy and grey.The range also features the return of an old classic – the Saints Stickman, which is displayed on the chest of some of the key pieces of the range.The lightweight garments are ideal for Summer holidays, weekends out or for exercising and also can mix and match with pieces from the current 2019 main Trainingwear range.The range is available in limited stock levels from Small through to 4XL.A limited selection of the new range is also available in children’s sizes.You can shop the range both in store at the Totally Wicked Stadium or online here.