Rugby Union: Littleborough Rugby Club's rising talent and future stars
Date published: 10 March 2019
Thomas Mills and Sam Bennetta
While the nations that make up the United Kingdom and Ireland go toe-to-toe in Rugby Union's Six Nations, closer to home, Littleborough rugby club's rising talent and future stars are embarking on the next steps towards their dreams of playing professional rugby – and maybe one day adorning a country cap.
The youngsters, who have gone through the ranks of Littleborough’s mini and junior programmes, have excelled, proving worthy of attention from professional clubs, including the likes of Sale Sharks, which have particularly taken an interest in a number of local young stars through its Development Player Pathway.
The Development Player Pathway runs from October until May and ranges from Under 13 up to Under 16 age group. The trial stage for U15s saw 600 boys nominated from seven sites, before 375 boys were selected.
Littleborough's U15 representatives were brothers Jack and Sam Bennetta, Christian Brookes, Tom Mills and Matty Gibson.
In January, only 45 boys were selected for Sale Sharks Academy, including Littleborough’s Sam Bennetta and Thomas Mills. These boys have enjoyed a great season that has seen them score more than 10+ tries each and are well deserving of their place.
Littleborough had further exposure at the earlier stages of the programme in the younger age groups: Bradley Chrimes, Ben Crabtree, Thomas Kelly from the Under 14s were selected whilst Sam Deacon, Billy Blake, Joe Deegan, Bailey Howarth, Riley Keegan were all nominated onto the first stage for the U13s.
Within the promising junior colts setup at Rakewood, there are a number of diamonds being unearthed.
David Mills and Charlie Sutcliffe are currently on the books at Super League and Challenge Cup runners-up Warrington Wolves. Playing at prop or second row and centre respectively, the youngsters donned the yellow and blue - rather than yellow and green of Littleborough – on Wednesday 6 March as they began the brand-new league season against Hull FC academy.
David Mills also has to contend with the decision as to which code he picks as he was also selected on the Sale Sharks development player pathway and Lancashire County RFU squad for two games against Yorkshire and Cheshire.
Starring in the game at Keighley in February for the county against Yorkshire, David certainly demonstrated the quality he has in abundance and will go on to be a real asset in either code of the sport.
Mills is not the only one catching the eye of county selectors: in the past two weeks, Robbie Nolan and Ben Stott have been selected on the Wider Development Squad to commence a two-year journey through to North U18s and England Counties U18s next season.
This is a fantastic achievement for the two youngsters who have undoubted skill and technique to excel at that level and progress further under the tutelage of not only brilliant Littleborough coaches but those at county level also.
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