This week in Farrell’s Forum I’m turning my attention to the local rugby league scene and taking an in-depth look at Scarborough Pirates’ winter side with their coach, Adam Lee.
Following on from the club’s most successful season in its history, having gone undefeated all summer, the Pirates have continued to enjoy success during the winter season having reached the Tom Beautiman Cup Final, only to narrowly lose out to an experienced Cottingham Tigers team.
Despite this minor setback, Lee has enjoyed his first season in charge.
“I’ve really enjoyed coaching this mixture of lads,” he said.
“One thing I’ve learnt from my first season coaching is it’s easy to coach lads that want to be coached, and the players I’ve got here all fall into that category.
“This has allowed me to put structure into our game both in attack and defence right from the off.”
Together with a number of enthusiastic youngsters Lee had added the experience of a handful of first team players from the summer side which he feels has really benefitted the younger players.
“I felt it was important to add some experience to the youth that we had and I think we’ve had a great balance from the start this season.”
Perhaps the most notable recruit to Pirates winter side is their captain, Dave Douthwaite, a man with considerable experience, having once been a part of the Castleford Tigers Academy set-up.
Speaking of his captain, Lee said: “Dave was my first-choice captain for a number of reasons.
“His love of the game and his drive to win are second to none and the way he plays the game on the field is a great example for our younger guys.”
Coach Lee has been particularly pleased with the younger players in his squad.
He added: “Overall I’m really happy with the development of the team and especially the younger players’ improvement, hopefully setting them up for a successful summer season with the two Pirates teams.”
Lee highlighted the importance of many of his young charges as he singled them out for individual praise.
Carl Stephenson - after a slow start out of position Carl has really stood out in both attack and defence and has been one of the best tacklers in the team despite being one of the smallest.
Tom Jenkinson - just gets better every week, his work-rate is unbelievable, he’s one of the best wingers I’ve played with technically and is so motivated, he’s a great asset to the team.
Josh McNeil - a young lad with a great rugby league brain has often had to control the game as our only half-back and he’s coped with the pressure brilliantly. Definitely one for the future
Keith Paddock - led by example all season, he’s a stalwart of the Scarborough Pirates who the lads look up to and has often topped the stats chart for his carries and in the tackle count.
Jack Johnson - Jack has played a lot of positions this winter but never had a bad game. ‘Jacko’ remains a firm fan’s favourite, he’s a massive weapon for us.
Joe Hitchcock -a perfect example for anyone who works hard to achieve their goals. Joe earnt his starting jersey early in the season and hasn’t looked back working on his fitness in his own time to develop his game.
Tom Read and Nathan Hakings - two great young players with a good playing career ahead of them. Neither of them ever take a backward step and their work-rate is fantastic.
Karl Tindall - a small forward but one of the hardest forwards in the division. He’s like a raging bull at times and one of the most committed players who sets a great example.
Harry Sleep - a highly motivated and committed player who has had some great performances scoring some good tries along the way.
Alex Paddock - a cool head under pressure and just got in at York City Knights. Needs to step it up a gear now but has the potential to go a long way.
Dave Douthwaite and Alex Collins - both led the team well this season and both are highly driven and passionate players. Theyre a pleasure to play alongside.
Nick Brining - not played as much as I would have liked due to work and injury but definitely one for the future. He’s a great hooker with a good eye for a try.
James ‘Bullhead’ Fleming - ‘Bullhead’ hasn’t had as much game time as I would’ve liked this season but he’s got a really good rugby brain and reads the game well. He’s also one of the most committed players at the club.
The future of Scarborough Pirates is clearly a very bright and exciting one with coach Lee happy with the progress his young side have made this year.
“I’m looking forward to next winter when the younger lads have had an extra season under their belt and gain a bit more confidence and experience.
“Because if their commitment remains the same then next winter could be a very successful season for us.”