Cumbria squad announced for memorial match

Fourteen players from Garry Purdham’s former clubs will turn out in his honour for Cumbria against England on Sunday October 3 at Whitehaven’s Recreation Ground.

This initial squad, which is subject to some changes nearer the event, will be captained by Garry’s brother Rob Purdham and will include Huddersfield’s Gregg McNally and Kyle Amor of Leeds Rhinos, plus former Workington Town playmaker Liam Campbell, now at Barrow.

Cumbria will be coached by Paul Crarey, with assistant coaches Gary Charlton of Workington Town and Whitehaven’s David Seeds, both friends and former team-mates of Garry Purdham.

“Garry was a great friend of mine and this game is quite fitting, even though he wouldn’t have wanted the fuss,” Seeds said.

“It’s the strongest Cumbria team I have seen for a long time. It has been picked on merit and there is quality in there. I’m getting quite excited about what we are doing, not just for Garry’s family, the reason it’s being played, but for the whole of Cumbria. I can’t remember the last time a full England team came to West Cumbria.”

Carnegie Challenge Cup winner Jon Clarke of Warrington Wolves, St Helens winger Ade Gardner and Oliver Wilkes from Harlequins, will also feature in the Cumbria side.

“We have picked a handy squad,” Charlton said. “We all know these lads can play and they won’t let anyone down.”

Surprise additions to the squad are young amateurs Rhys Davies and John Paul Brocklebank, both from Egremont Rangers, the club where the late back-rower started and ended his career.

Spokesman Dave Bowden added “It was felt at an early stage from everyone involved that representation in the Cumbrian squad should be from all the clubs Garry played for, it’s a great opportunity for John Paul and Rhys to be part of the day and I’m sure Garry would have approved.”

The final selection of the England team will depend on which sides contest the Engage Super League Grand Final, which is the day before the October 3 Recreation Ground clash but national coach Steve McNamara has pledged to field his strongest possible line-up.

Admission will be by means of a special commemorative programme. The programme will be priced at £15 for adults and £5 for children. For more information or to order your programme please visit www.garrypurdham.co.uk.

Cumbria: Calvert, McAvoy, M Jackson, Hill, S Miller, Mattinson, Sice (all Whitehaven); Frazer, Mossop, Low, Coward, Pedley (all Workington Town); Broadbent, Harrison, Campbell, McDermott (all Barrow); Davies, Brocklebank (both Egremont); R Purdham, Wilkes (both Harlequins); Amor (Leeds); McNally (Huddersfield); Clarke (Warrington); Gardner (St Helens).

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