Scorpions skipper expects Gateshead battle

South Wales Scorpions captain Aled James believes that Sunday’s big match against former Super League side Gateshead Thunder at The Gnoll in Neath (kick-off 1pm) will be a lot closer than last year’s encounter.

The Scorpions won 70-16 in 2010 but this game, which has an early kick-off to aid their opposition’s return travel time, will, as James believes, see a more balanced match.

“The Gateshead game on Sunday will be a good mark to see where we’re at,” he said. “In my opinion, we’re similar to Gateshead Thunder and I think it’ll be a lot closer than last year’s match.

“I keep going on about it but the average age of our players is only around 21 years old which is very young in Rugby League terms especially at this high a level with a lot of sides fielding players with Super League experience. Some of our players have only played a handful of senior games.

“Gateshead are a similar club. They’ve a lot of youngsters coming through like us so that’s why I’m expecting a tough game on Sunday. Everybody will be looking to prove themselves.”

The Scorpions lost out 18-22 at home to Whitehaven last Sunday in a game that the injured James, who was watching from the grandstand, believes that they could have won.

“We developed last week with a strong performance against Whitehaven and it was an opportunity to win which we missed,” he said. “An individual error cost us the game which is tough as at this level there’s not much between all the sides.

“However I can’t fault the boys for their efforts. Curtis Cunningham was really good, he did a lot of work with the ball and was really strong. Lewis Reece was excellent too, he’s probably one of our most consistent performers at the moment – he’s making breaks for fun. We’re improving week by week, you can tell that.”

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