West Hull looking ahead to the National Cup Final
On Sunday 14th April, West Hull travel to the South Leeds Stadium in Hunslet to face Thatto Heath in the BARLA Open Age National Cup Final. West Hull most recently defeated Upton away from home in the semi finals of this competition with a score of 22-4 with a squad full of young poised athletes due to a Challenge Cup clash that same weekend. The team featured 14 members from the club's under 18's squad in that semi final victory and an eldest player of just age, 22. The decision to play the younger lads in such a massive game for the club paid off and the lads on the field got some great experience and a chance to fight for their place in the final.
In this article, I’ll be looking ahead to the Green & Gold's clash against Thatto Heath, their run in the competition so far, plus some words from one of the coaches, Mark Cassidy.
West Hull teams are known to be proven specialists when it comes to not only reaching finals but also winning competitions with a proven tack record of this which stretches from the youth teams to the open mens age.
West Hull travel in good numbers also with a huge backing from their community fan base, the team that takes the field in Hunslet on Sunday is expecting a good reception ahead of the match.
West Hull’s Calvin Parker , spoke to GRM SPORT ahead of the final: “The team's game plan is to approach the game like another game and play it like it is a normal fixture, to train hard in the week building up to the match and be switched on for Thatto's game plan also”.
As captain in the semi final win, Calvin also mentioned that the young squad did themselves proud by playing for each other and stepped up the heat for places in the final itself.
West Hulls round by round National Cup run:
Round 1. Away to Aspatria Hornets (Cumbria). Won 64-6.
Round 2. Awarded victory due to Eastern Rhinos (Essex) dropping out of competition.
Quarter Finals. Home to Skirlaugh (East Hull). Won 32-6.
Semi Finals. Away to Upton (Pontefract). Won 22-4.
Here’s what West Hull Coach Mark Cassidy said to GRM SPORT ahead of the final:
“ I was not at the first round as I coach the academy side with Matt Wilson, what I got from the first game is that it was a really professional performance and got the job done after a very long drive.
I think the Skirlaugh fixture summed up the players attitudes, they're the current holders of the cup and wanted to give it their best shot to get back the final and defend their title! A lot of the players backed this up in the challenge cup on the Sunday too as they wanted to give the challenge cup game a good go having travelled to Portsmouth to play the Navy in the previous round.
“Captain Ryan Steen played 80 minutes in both games which tells you a lot about his attitude and desire. The semi-final was really pleasing as the oldest player in the side was just 22, playing against a much bigger more physical side the young lads really stood up , there were some really good performances. I believe the success is down to the desire and attitude of the players
On the coaching cohesion at West Hull
” Myself and Matt Wilson coach the academy which is the side we went to Upton with. We have a really good coaching set up! Mark Hewitt is the head coach and he is an experienced coach, I think he’s been head coach for 11 years now and won absolutely everything there is!
“ His attention to detail is first class! Then we have Glyn Jones and Mark Crowther who are Mark's assistant coaches. Myself and Matt are based with the academy lads but there is no us and them, we train together as a club!
“ It’s great to get to the final and be able to defend the title! The players have had it pretty tough and deserve to be there! As I mentioned earlier, players have always backed up and our young lads were excellent in the semi final.
On the prospect of back to back victories.
“ There has been a real good feel about the place since we started pre-season back in early January, everyone has bought into what we're doing! The experienced first team lads have been really good with the youngsters, giving them advice and encouragement in training and on game day! Bus rides home are always good when you get the win, but retaining the trophy will be special, given the route that we've had to get there
GRM Sport would like to thank Calvin Parker and Mark Cassidy for contributing and sharing their thoughts about the game with us. We would also like to wish West Hull all the best of luck in Sunday's cup final against Thatto Heath.