Thunder Rolling Back into View
Gateshead Thunder Academy (Under 18) team is keeping Rugby League's flag flying in the North East of England. Even though the area's Super League club has amalgamated with Hull FC and switched operations to East Yorkshire, the Thunder Academy side remains on Tyneside and playing in the Academy League's first division. Tom O'Donovan, the Rugby Football League's Associate Director of Development, said: "The Rugby Football League remains committed to the development of the sport within the North East of England. Academy Rugby is key to identifying emerging young talent as well as providing a route for players into the professional game. "I'm delighted that we've been able to retain an Academy operation within the Gateshead - Tyneside orbit and hope that this will help in the attempt to re-establish a Gateshead Thunder professional team within the Northern Ford Premiership." "I would also like to acknowledge the support of both the Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council Leisure Department and Hull FC in enabling us to keep the Thunder Academy team project in being." Mike Newton, Gateshead MBC's Director of Leisure, said: "It's a pleasure to continue working alongside the Rugby Football League within our region as well as looking forward to the Lincoln Financial Group Rugby League World Cup match between Australia and Fiji at the Gateshead International Stadium on Wednesday, November 1." The Thunder Academy team are back in action on Sunday when they play Lancashire Lynx at Chorley (Kick off 13.00hrs). During the rest of May their match programme is: versus Hemel Hempstead (at home) Sunday, May 14 (Kick off 14.30hrs) and versus Whitehaven Warriors on Monday, May 29 (Kick off 14.30hrs) Other Rugby League clubs in the North East have a packed programme during the month of May. This Saturday, May 6 the Gateshead Thunderbirds Under-13 Girls team compete in a Girls Rugby League Association development rally at Castleford Panthers, West Yorkshire while eight teams will take part in the Nine-a-side tournament to launch the new Northern Summer Conference at Saltersgill Sports Centre, Teesside. On Saturday, May 13 the Whitley Bay Nines (Under Eight to Under 14 age groups) will be staged at Foxhunters Playing Fields, Whitley Bay. An entry of 55 teams from the North of England, East and West Yorkshire and Scotland will take part in the tournament which will involve the use of ten pitches. The competition will start at 10.00hrs. The following day Sunday, May 14 the North East Senior Cup final between Gateshead Panthers and the winners of the Newcastle University v Sunderland City tie will be played at the University of Northumbria's Bullocksteads Sports Ground kick off 14.30hrs. On Saturday, May 27 a Mini and Modified Games Coaching Course will be held at Gateshead International Stadium while the Student Rugby League regional champions, the North East, will play an Army Under 21 representative side at Blaydon Rugby Union Club kick off 18.30hrs with the Gateshead Thunderbirds playing a Teesside girls team in a curtain raiser game, kick off 17.15hrs. Issued by the Media and Marketing Department of the Rugby Football League, Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. Telephone: 0113 237 5014 (direct line), 0113 232 3838 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail).