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Saturday, 02 August 2014

Wath Brow boss under no illusions about scale of South Wales test

Wath Brow coach Ian Rooney has dampened expectations ahead of his club’s Carnegie Challenge Cup clash with South Wales Scorpions.

Ian Rooney photo
Ian Rooney

The Hornets boast the proudest cup record of any Cumbrian amateur club and host the Championship One outfit next week.

But Rooney warned it’s increasingly difficult for amateur clubs to pull off a shock since the pro calendar was brought forward, meaning Championship clubs were not better prepared.

“Four or five years ago we were catching them cold and this was a good time to play the pros,” he declared.

“But we are now catching them four or five games in to their season, which makes it all the more difficult for amateur sides.

“It was always very difficult for us, now it’s extremely difficult. The pros need to have a really bad day and the amateur teams a really good one.

“We are under no illusions. The days of two, three or four amateur teams winning are gone.”

The Brow team that performed with such distinction against the likes of London Broncos, Huddersfield Giants, Workington Town and London Skolars, has now retired.

And it’s a new generation that will tackle the Scorpions.

“It’s a very, very young side and this will be the first opportunity for a number of them to play a professional side,” he said.

“It will be a great learning curve for them, and they’ll see the standard they have to aspire to.

“The likes of Scott Pink’s a junior international, so has played in big games, but it’s special playing in them for your club side. I’m sure they will equip themselves well.”

Ex-Wakefield and Barrow playmaker Jamie Rooney joined South Wales this term and was outstanding in last weekend’s 32-30 win at Gateshead.

“He stood out in Super League and is a class act,” said the Brow coach. “He’s been a great player, and for some of our young lads to pit themselves against him is fantastic.”

Wath Brow will be in the unusual position of having more Challenge Cup experience than their opponents, the new Welsh outfit’s only tie to date being a defeat at home to Dewsbury Rams last year.

“This is a very tough draw for us,” said Scorpions coach Dave Clark, the ex-Barrow boss.

“Having lived in Cumbria for many years I know how strong Wath Brow are and it’s a long trip for us to make.

“They may be a division lower than us but we won’t be taking them lightly at all.”

Ex-Haven star Leroy Joe, Mark Troughton and Dave Pettitt took charge of the Hornets this term, though Rooney remains heavily involved.

“Leroy will tell the boys what to expect. He’s very humble for the level he played at, and when he talks, people listen,” said Rooney, who is fully-focused for now on tomorrow’s Conference visit of West Hull.

“We’ll worry about South Wales on Monday. West Hull traditionally have a very good Under-18 side and a few more of them will have come through.

“We’ll have to be on our straps to get off the mark in the NCL Premier Division.”

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