James Goulsbra-Miller: Playing in NCL Premier Division.
The NCL Premiership really is the cream of the crop when it comes to amateur rugby. The league is littered with ex-professional players and talented lads on the cusp of professional contracts mixing it up with seasoned 'old-heads' who have played amateur rugby their whole lives!
Within each team and amongst the collection of rough-and-ready players which make up the NCL, you'll find one or two players who possess special 'elite' qualities which sets them apart from the average Tom, Dick and Harry. James Goulsbra-Miller definitely fits this description!
Still only 18 years old, Goulsbra-Miller made his NCL debut at a very young age for West Hull, who are arguably one of the best amateur clubs in the Country. The talented Centre has seen it all from high-profile challenge cup clashes to relegation battles and even lacing up to represent his country. I recently caught up with James to discuss where it all started and his experiences so far at the highest tier of amateur rugby.
1) How did you get involved in Rugby?
"I live outside of Hull In Burton Pidsea, My Dad took me down to Holderness Vikings when I was 6, really enjoyed it and made some mates so kept going and never looked back since!"
2) Which Super League team do you support & which Super League player would you compare your playing style to?
"I support Hull FC, I wouldn’t describe myself as any other player to be honest, I want to create my own style"
3) How old were you when you made your NCL debut and how would you describe the current level of NCL premier?
"I was 16 when I made my debut, it was the last game of the season, if we lost the game West Hull would have been relegated and we were playing Wath Brow away. I would describe the Premier division to be at a very high standard, you can never underestimate any team in the league as they are all very capable"
4) Who are the toughest team you have faced so far?
"I would say Doncaster in a challenge cup is the hardest team I have played against, however in the league I would say the hardest game is Siddal away"
5) Who is the best player you have played with?
"The best player I have played with would be Callum Windley, always gives it 100% in everything he does, and it shows on game day".
6) . West Hull are one of only 2 teams who play in NCL Premier, what do you think West Hull do differently which sets them apart from other local clubs?
"I would say one big difference is we have a great set up at West Hull, very good coaches and a lot of people helping out behind the scenes allowing the players to have the best opportunities to be the best they can be".
7) How did you get involved in the Amateur National Team?
"My first involvement with England Amateur RL was when I attended one of the trials at Skiralugh’s ground a few years back, there were over 100 players there, the fact I was already playing in West Hull's First Team meant I had played at higher level than many of the other players there, so I felt this gave me a big head start. From there on I was selected for the 20 man-squad, we played 3 games and won all three (Ireland, Wales and Scotland). I was then selected again for the following year, I was also selected to be captain for the team in my second year which was a great experience. We won both games (Wales and Scotland). I hope I continue being selected for the squad".