Sunday’s Championship Grand Finals proved to be a hugely successful occasion for the Wildcats quartet on dual-registration as Doncaster and then Sheffield won their respective league titles.
Hooker James Davey came off the bench to help the Eagles secure a famous 20-16 victory over Featherstone to win the Championship just days after making his move to South Yorkshire permanent with the 23-year-old signing a one-year contract for Mark Aston’s men.
That came after Danny Cowling, Lucas Walshaw and Russ Spiers helped The Dons to a hard fought 16-13 victory over Barrow at a rain soaked Halliwell Jones Stadium. All three youngsters started the Championship One Final as the club topped off a historic season after winning a league title for the first time in their 61 year history.
With the youngsters performing admirably in the showpiece final Walshaw was one to particularly impress with his strong defence and superb play to assist a try for the Doncaster full-back Lee Waterman. The second-rower has also featured in seven Super League games for the Wildcats in 2012 and he was clearly delighted to end the season with a medal around his neck.
“There was plenty of knock-ons and the weather conditions were absolutely awful and we were sliding everywhere, tackling wise and with ball in hand there were a lot of errors but we came out on top so that’s the good news,” said Walshaw.
“It seemed like they were camped on or line for at least half an hour of that second half and we only had 10 minutes with the ball but it was good enough and I’m pretty proud of the lads. I think we played the conditions a lot better than Barrow and we kept hold of the ball a lot more in possession and tackling and defence wise we were awesome.
“I found it quite easy coming here with Danny and Russ introducing me to the lads who have been great as well so it’s been pretty good,” admitted the 20-year-old.
His dual-registration team mate Cowling took his place in the left centre and he was equally as pleased to secure history for the Keepmoat club.
“The conditions didn’t help but we stuck in there and played the conditions well and did what we had to do and came out with the trophy in the end so it was great by the boys.
“Barrow came out like we knew they would and we knew in the final 20 minutes of the game we would get them and that’s what showed and we came out on top. We just had to stick in there at the end for a tough patch and the boys did so it was a great effort.
“At beginning of the season we were a team that was 20/1 to win the league and to be there now in picking the trophy up and celebrating it is massive. Before we got there the boys trained hard in their off season and it showed towards the back end of the season with their fitness and it’s been easy to slot into the team.
“They are a great bunch of boys, a great coach and it makes our job a lot easier to go out there and do what we do,” said the 20-year-old.
Meanwhile the Doncaster head coach Tony Miller who was named the Championship One Coach of the year last week was full of praise for the trio of players Trinity have provided them with throughout the season at the end of a wonderful year for the club.
“It doesn’t get any bigger does it? It has been a tremendous season for all,” said Miller.
“I think the boys from Wakefield have been magnificent. I thought Lucas Walshaw today had a brilliant game and I thought defensively he was as good as anybody on the park and I thought he ran the ball in as good as anybody. He also made that break for Lee Waterman to get that try and I am delighted with him, Danny and Russ and I would like to say thank you to Wakefield for allowing them to come and we have a good partnership with them.”
It was revealed last week that Spiers will be released at the end of this season but Cowling and Walshaw will return to pre-season training in just over a month’s time and the centre is hoping it will be the start of a breakthrough season after making his Wildcats debut against St. Helens in August.
“We have the pre-season to do and hopefully we can show up well there and impress,” said Cowling.
“If not there is always options and we will see how we go but I definitely want to be pushing for the first team to show how good we are.”
Both Cowling and Walshaw are graduates of the Wildcats youth development programme which is funded by the clubs lottery scheme, Club 1873 with all money raised going towards attracting, nurturing and keeping young talent. It costs just £2 a week with weekly winners of a guaranteed £250 along with daily prizes amongst other great rewards so join Club 1873 today and support your clubs academy structure.
Sign up today by visiting either of our retail outlets at the Ridings Centre Store, Rapid Solicitors Stadium Box Office or call 01924 201548 / 211611.
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