WATEREHAD’S young warriors are helping to transform the fortunes of the Peach Road club.
The latest win in National Conference League, division three – an 18-16 home success against Dewsbury Celtic on Saturday, July 28 – was achieved with eight U18 players and one U16 player in their side.
Indeed, U16 player Jenson Hamilton was named man of the match after the stand-off scored the match-winning try.
“Jenson is not a big lad, but he has pace and is elusive. He snook over with about five minutes to go for what turned out to be the winning try,” explained joint coach Jon Perks.
Warriors won two of their three league games in July – they also beat bottom-club Stanley Rangers 63-9 – and now have six victories and 10 losses as they are 10th in the 12 strong division.
After several challenging years, Perks is looking ahead with confidence, declaring: “We declared all along there was not going to be a quick fix.
“We had a five-year plan and this is only the second. Once the U18 players get experience of open-age rugby and their bodies develop into men, that will make a big difference.
“I am really pleased how we are progressing and it is reward for the lads who have stuck with us through some difficult times. They have shown true character.”
Waterhead have two tough away games coming up in the Lake District as they visit fourth-placed Millom on Saturday (Aug 4) and second-placed Barrow Island on Aug 18.
Sandwiched in-between is a home game against second-bottom Salford City Roosters.
Meanwhile, Warriors’ U18s lost 17-16 to an extra time golden point to Blackbrook in the final of the Lancashire Cup that was hosted by Clock Face Miners.
They were winning 16-12 with 30 seconds left only to concede a controversial last-gasp try to level the scores.
Scrum-half Kegan Brennan, with two tries, was named player of the match.
“It was a heart-wrenching way to lose and even their coach told it was a travesty as we were the better side,” explained Perks.
Blackbrook recently won the National Cup and are unbeaten in the league, an indication as to how well Warriors did.
Warriors U14s have also won through to the Lancashire Cup final and U16s to the Lancashire Plate final.