Tom Markham: Remember The Name.
I’ve met thousands of good grassroots rugby players, but only a handful of great ones. I once described Tom as "Mr Rugby" for many reasons, but mainly because he is one of the greatest rugby players, of his generation. Tom Markham, one of Skirlaugh Under 14’s key players is about to enter the most important season of his career so far, as professional teams seek to sign scholarship players onto their programs.
Skill, desire, athleticism, professionalism... I can confidently say Tom Markham has consistently been one of the best young players I've seen play over the past 2 years I've been covering grassroots rugby on GRM! You can watch Tom and his team in action by following the YouTube link at the end of this article!
Are there players who are faster than him? Yes, are there players who are more skilful? Yes. But it's the intangibles which set Tom apart, he treats every game like it's the Super League Grand Final, he's runs hard but plays smart and off the pitch he's a true gentleman, active in his community and heavily involved in charity work.
I won't forget the first time I saw Tom play, he was playing in the under 12s Hull and District cup final, charging through everyone down the middle... I took note of his name, and added "this lad is going to be special". After the game, Tom and his parents thanked me for coming and taking photos. A small gesture but you'll be surprised how rarely this happens!
Tom has featured on GRM on several occasions since then: V Oulton Raiders, V West of Hull in the Hull Rep games and most recently in the under 13 Hull and District final which is now my most watched video on GRM with over 42 thousand views!
It hasn’t always been easy for Tom, he had a few serious health scares at a young age but proved his resilience having pushed through to overcome those hurdles. Now on the right path to becoming a professional Rugby Player, I caught up with Tom to discuss his career so far.
1 What is your earliest rugby memory?
“ I was at a christening when I was 6 and the other kids were passing a rugby ball. I already swam twice a week but asked if I could go to rugby.”
2 What are the key things you have achieved in your career so far?
“ I captained the East of Hull team in East v West series both under 11s and under 12s . I am the captain of my school team and I play in a community team (Skirlaugh Bulls) that has developed season on season! We have won the league and the cup two years running “
3 Who are the toughest team you have played against?
“ The toughest team are Ryland sharks but I only played them in a 9-a-side game at Butlins . Leeds Irish are also a strong physical side and the West Hull derby is always a great game!”
4 You mentioned back to back league titles and multiple cup wins, why do you think your team is so successful?
“It comes down to being together for many seasons, we work hard, we want to win and we want to learn. The most important thing I have learned so far in my rugby career is you never lose, but you always learn”
5. What are your thoughts on people who say you’re only a successful team due to the size difference between yourself and your teammates compared to other players in your age group?
“ I think it's unfair as we only have 3 big lads. Several of my teammates are also skilful and strong”
6. At some stage this season you’re very likely to be offered a scholarship deal at a Super League team, do you have your eyes set on any particular team?
“ I'm not thinking about Scholarships at the minute as we've got some big cup games ahead, However I was invited to Wigan at Easter and was blown away by the facilities and the coaching.”
7. Where do you see yourself in 7 years once you have turned 21?
“ In 7 years time hopefully I’ll still be playing rugby with a degree to go with it! maybe spend some time in Australia too!”
8 What do you like to do outside of rugby?
“ I work twice a week in a pool, I train in the gym and eat lots of steak!”
Good luck this season Tom! I’ll definitely be down to cover a few more of your games on GRM!
Written by Shawn Boatin