Scorpions chief proud of development

South Wales Scorpions’ chairman Phil Davies is proud of his team for reaching 200 tries in their first two seasons.

The Scorpions finished their 2011 season on Sunday with a 48-34 defeat at play-off bound Oldham Roughyeds leaving them with six wins in their second year.

And their six tries in their final game gave them a total of 98 for the season and exactly 200 over the past two years with Cardiff-born Curtis Cunningham running in the final score with five minutes remaining.

“We’re really pleased to have brought up such a milestone in our final game of 2011,” said Davies. “We’ve had a difficult second year but the stats show that despite winning three less games than in 2010, we’ve continued to entertain. We’ve only scored four less tries than in 2010 and could and should have won at least three or four of the games where we lost.

“In general, we can hold our heads up high for the way we’ve performed in 2011. We’ve used primarily Welsh born players once again which is a credit to the development of youngsters in South Wales.”

Cunningham is just one of many Welsh players fielded by the Scorpions over their first two seasons. In fact, from the 48 players that they have used over the last two years, 35 were Welsh born while a further five are Welsh trained and qualified and have played for Wales at various levels.

The club’s top scorer both for 2011 and of all-time is Lewis Reece from Cardiff who only turned 20 this year. He has scored seven tries and kicked 66 goals in only 19 games for the club.

Despite losing out on the top try scorer gong for 2011, Merthyr Tydfil-born Steve Parry’s 13 this season takes him to 32 in total which is a club record.

This year’s top try scorer was Australian-born Welsh international Andrew Gay. The 21-year old, whose father was born in the Splott area of Cardiff, came over to Wales just to trial for the Scorpions in early 2010 and has stayed ever since. A revelation this season, going over the line 17 times in 21 games, he remains the only Scorpions player to have turned out in all 42 matches in their history.

“Last season we were able to call on players like Lloyd White, Elliot Kear and Gil Dudson who were regulars in our side,” Davies adds. “This year of course they’ve played for Crusaders which has been great for the development of the Welsh side. The loss of them and a few others has meant that we have accelerated the develop of our own players and this season we gave seven youngsters their senior professional debuts.

“We had two 18-year olds in the starting line-up and a 19-year old on the bench against Oldham on Sunday and they all performed exceptionally. Many of our other players are under 21 years old. If we can keep the bulk of these youngsters for 2012, they’re only going to get better and better.

“Before we started just 18 months ago, a few so-called experts said that we wouldn’t last one season. Now we’re starting to plan for our third year and we’re certain that it will be an exciting and entertaining one.”

Many of the Scorpions’ side are expected to turn out at the next Rugby League game at their home ground of The Gnoll in Neath when Wales take on Ireland in a pre-Four Nations warm-up game on Saturday 22nd October (kick-off 6pm) in the match which is expected to see Crusaders’ Gareth Thomas make his comeback after recovering from a broken arm. Tickets for this match, priced £5 for concessions and £10 for adults can be bought by going to www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk.

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