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Rising Stars - The Youth Club


The North Wales representative side, now known as RGC 1404, pulled off a 31-17 victory against Sale Jets at Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay. This was North Wales's first win against our team.  RGC are a different proposition from the old days.  The imported Canadians have understandably give the side more steel. Jack Turton chipped in with two conversions and a penalty, with Mark Atkinson and Ian Kench scoring tries. 

Lee Imiolek


Lee Imiolek (left) came off the bench during both of England Under-20's games against Wales and Italy, and was in the starting lineup against Ireland.  KJ mentioned after the Kingsholm game that Lee would be 'in the frame' for the match at home to Northampton Saints.  Lee warmed up with some lively minutes for The Jets against Newcastle.


Yes, I know it's Wasps that sting, but the 'other lot' made the Academy game a 19-19 draw in the last minute.  Sharks were three tries to nil up, but had fallen foul of the referee's whistle. Examination of the video told the coaching staff that 'Sir' was right. Their left winger Smith was lost among the forwards out on the left and seemed to be 'held up' (such was the official signal) until a TJ seemed to advise otherwise.  Tries for speedy Tom Brady and two from Adam Birchall, no relation to Danny. Good crowd watching a good game.



A very young Jets team, with five Myerscough students in the squad, faced Saracens Storm on a cold December afternoon at Carrington.  The home side went 12-0 down in as many minutes, but that was it.  Although Adam Birchall scored a 58th minute try, Jordan Davies (pictured right) converting, the side didn't penetrate the opposition 22 enough to wrap up the game. Final score 7-12. Pete Anglesea was quite open: it's coming up to the time where existing Jets/Academy players will be having to prove their worth for a contract renewal, and those hoping to come in have a chance to show their mettle.  It'll be interesting. Have to report a 'who's who' from the visitors among their coaches: Richard Hill, Alex Sanderson, Mark Mapletoft.



Tom Brady (left) is a winger in his first year in the Academy, and vies with David Tait for the title of 'most local boy' in the club. Tom is from Flixton, and attended Urmston GS (a football school) so developed his love of the oval ball game at Banky Lane, home of Ashton on Mersey RUFC. He's also been a Preston Grasshopper.  Tom was a champion cross country runner in his schooldays. He nominates the Jets' win at Worcester as his best game - so far  - this season.



A young Jets side had a nightmare coach journey of six hours, caught up in Oxford gridlock after a lorry containing panels for Minis had overturned at the Kennington roundabout.  Kick off at Iffley Road was delayed after the team had finished their journey on foot. Understandably, the Jets went 24-0 down in quick time against the Dark Blues, who included John Carter (Kellogg College) in their back row.  Lee Imiolek (try, con Mark Atkinson) made it 24-7 by half time, and Acky added a penalty for 24-10.  31-10 followed before Will Cliff replied, Atkinson converting. A two-try revival followed within four minutes, from David Tait and Alex Shaw.  Cliff (right) kicked the extras for a good draw.



A mixed bag of a side overcame Gogledd Cymru - the North Wales team based in Colwyn Bay but containing a number of Sale FC players past or present. The visitors, under coach John Aby, have shown steady improvement and this 33-13 defeat was by far their best performance against the Sale lads. They looked fitter and better organised.  Maori flanker Kris Ormsby was given a 20 minute taster of match action to assure everybody of his recovery after a year away with a serious knee problem.  David Tait was tried at centre - he went to NZ two Summers ago to learn more about the art, financed by the SSSC - and he'll be there again! Fans are provided with a teamsheet / programme which is generally correct regarding the team, but the replacements often undergo late changes.  Announcer Barry Boardman always knows! 

Usually, there are several players invited to be on trial and often you can spot some stars of the future.  Here's our rundown on the players involved in this game:

DJames Williamsavid Tait, Will Cliff, Ben Roberts, James Jones, Kris Ormsby - all would readily slip into the first team;

Ed Styles, Jordan Davies, Mark Atklinson, Lee Imiolek, Ryan Glynn - all well worth a run in an occasional game;

Tom Brady (wing), James Williams (wing -pictured left), Dan Hall (lock) - first year Academy, learning all the time;

Pete Altham (prop), Mike Walker-Fitton (lock), Elliot Brierley (back), Ben Davey (back row) - reliable names to call upon at this level;

Charlie Baleirara (hooker) played for The Jets last year while at West Park, now with Macclesfield.  Luke Haidinger & Marcus Smikle-Knox (front row) both on Phil Leck's books, having come through the age groups. Jamie Thomas (Forward) at Macclesfield.  Cameron Thompson (back row) - Devonian, been with the club all season, acquaintance of the Bell family. Joe Spiers - ebullient back row, played for Dukinfield against Sale FC on Hallowee'en.  Frighteningly, got sent off for fighting, but showed his true worth here by scoring the fifth try.



Sadly, that's the Jets' record in the Guinness 'A' League after four games.  Northampton Wanderers are always a resWill Cliffpectable outfit, but this year's crop that appeared at Heywood Road on October 26th had a youthful look, with just a few seniors - Everitt, Dickens, Hopley.  The locals were disappointed that Chris Day was withdrawn hours before kick off, after the Saints' star lock Courtney Lawes had received the call up from England. 'Daisy' will be in demand during November. Onto the game, and the shock horror of a yellow card for wee Will Cliff (pictured right).  The game was two tries each, but the Wandies (their nickname) won it by five (17-12).  Looks like the scrummies - Cliffy and Lecky - will be wanted during November, as Messrs.Peel and Wigglesworth have got the nod from Messrs. Johnson & Gatland.


Lee Imiolek

Lots of the club's young blood were in the 23 for the Heineken Cup starter at mighty Toulouse, and those who played acquitted themselves well. In the starting team were centre Jonny Kennedy, Jack Forster, Rob O'Donnell, James Gaskell and Carl Fearns. Entering off the bench came Martin Halsall and David Tait.  Ben Roberts and Lee Imiolek were also part of the party. Sandbach RUFC proudly noticed that four of their ex-players (Gaskell, Cliff, Imiolek, left, and Kennedy) were in the starting 23 for the game.

Ed Styles




Poynton youngster Ed Styles ran in three tries from full back in the Jets' 34-17 win at Worcester in the Guinness 'A' League, ensuring a bonus point in Pete Anglesea's first game in charge. Ed, a former Sedbergh pupil, has played in New Zealand during the Summer months and showed at Sixways that he's sharp on the ball.

Dan Hall




Dan (18) is from Preston and plays in the second row. Capped by England at Under 16 level, Dan scored tries against Stockport and Newcastle, modestly describing scoring as "taking a few balls in support and crashing over."



The club's young players have already been put through their paces, with top billing going to the young side selected to face Stockport in the Cheshire Cup.  The 38-0 scoreline confirms their speed, their talent, their ability.  They never stopped going forward. Tries for Jordan Davies, Jack Turton, Dan Hall, Danny Birchall, Ben Davey and Alex Shaw, with four conversions from Mark Atkinson.

Tom Holmes

The Jets started their 'A' League campaign at Newcastle on Monday, 7th September, and pulled off a bonus-point win, 36-15.  Oriol Ripol scored a second half hat trick following opening tries from Dave Doherty and Dan Hall.  Conversions by Mark Atkinson (3) and Jack Turton. Sadly, skipper Tom Holmes (pictured right) wrecked an ankle during the warm up, but nevertheless a great start! Leeds Carnegie were visitors to Heywood Road the following Monday, and burst the Jets' bubble.  Leeds are a strange lot - they've got two teams of almost equal ability.  So the first team does a 'yo yo' act, and their stiffs have their moments, like tonight.  They showed too much 'savvy' for a young home team, even surviving with 14 men for the last 28 minutes under the new 'withdrawal' rule when uncontested scrums have to take place. The Jets had a friendly in Hertforshire on Monday 21st, against Saracens Storm and found themselves short of experience against a side with several first-team squaddies in. The lads never gave up, with a 'crazy twenty minutes' contributing to a 3-41 scoreline.

The Under-18 Academy team faced mighty Munster, who'd had all Summer to prepare in contrast to our lads' two sessions.  The Sharklets held out right to the end, only going down 11-9 at the death.  Penalties from Dorian Jones and Tom Bell (2) for the home side.

Watch 'em go:  look at the youngsters coming through to the first team ranks. Following in the footsteps of Hodgson, Cueto, C.Jones, Wigglesworth, Schofield, et al, are M.Jones, Briggs, Cox, E.Roberts, D.Tait, now Gaskell, Fearns, Halsall, Kuadey, O'Donnell, Kennedy. Atkinson may join the list before the year's out.

Congratulations to James Gaskell and Lee Imiolek on being selected for England's Under-20 squad.  Both have played for Sandbach RUFC on the way up.  Great pleasure at Bradwall Road, too. Jonny Kennedy (now a first teamer like Gaskell) was selected for Scotland at the same age level.