North East community club Cramlington Rockets have supplied their first ever player to the professional ranks, in the shape of Lewis Davey.
Davey, 18, has signed a deal with Kingstone Press League 1 side Gateshead Thunder, some 10 years after starting his career with the Rockets at the age of eight.
He said: Speaking of his first professional contract, Lewis was thrilled to have put pen to paper: “I am delighted to sign, it is a fantastic opportunity for me to further my career in rugby league after completing an intense but thoroughly enjoyable two years playing for the North East’s AASE programme, which included working with some great coaches.
“My love of rugby league started when I was eight years old when now Club President, Steve Beaty Snr saw some potential in me. He signed me up for his side that was coached by his son Steven Beaty, the current Rockets Community Manager.
“Steven really developed me as a player over the years and gave me the confidence in my own ability to pursue my rugby aspirations. He also put me forward to play in the North East’s development pathway, which lead onto winning a position in the new Scholarship side where I then earned my place on the Advance Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE).
“I am thrilled to sign for such a great club as Gateshead Thunder, where I aspire to push into the first team within the next season.
“I believe I owe this opportunity to the coaching from the Beaty family and playing for the Rockets for starting my journey in rugby league.”
The Rockets were founded in 2000 and now boast more than 140 players spanning age groups from Under 8s to open age, including girls teams.
Steven Beaty said: “I was fortunate enough to be Lewis’ first rugby league coach at club level and it was obvious that Lewis had an immense spirit.
“It’s massive for the club to have players like Lewis that have come through our youth system. Not only is he an amazing talent but he is also a very positive role model, someone who kids can look up to and embodies all that the Rockets is about.
“He is also an extremely likeable young man with an amazing family behind him who will go far, I’m sure.”