Peterlee Pumas travelled to Wigan, a town just over twice the size of Peterlee with a population but able to boast a superleague club in the Famous Wigan Warriors, a premiership soccer club, several NCL (Tier 3) clubs in various divisions and a host of other Rugby League clubs in the Tier 4 levels. 17 players unavailable through work, Easter holidays and a growing injury list the Pumas bus still made the long journey to this hotbed of Rugby League with a bus full of players and supporters. Several new players drafted in during the week and given debuts for the club never mind the NCL the Pumas came across the most physical side they have encountered in the division yet.
A frustrating afternoon as it appeared a lot of the good work done in previous weeks came undone but so many changes to the team was only ever going to be a problem especially travelling to a place like Wigan St Cuthberts whose ground backs on to the Wigan Warriors academy facility. However positives are the scores both home and away are coming down each week as the team improves, more players joining the club from Rugby League, Union and football backgrounds as well as general keep fit enthusiasts too be part of the quality competition as 8 new players signed in the week leading up to the game and more to sign next week.
With regards to the game, Peterlee fielded a strong pack that had been working hard in recent weeks in securing the middle of the park and held their own forcing the home side wide but some massive centres and wingers with pace were running excellent angles and Peterlee used a lot of energy scrambling in defence. The first half saw the Pumas force Wigan into many errors when it seemed certain they would score but spent a lot of energy in attack. Possession which was hard to come by was too often squandered too early in the tackle count and again, this is something had improved massively over the first month of the season and has to be put down to the lack of consistent selection. Good personal analysis from each and every player putting their hands up to this one. The coaches will have a lot more players to select from as more will be back from injury etc., however a tough trip to Coventry who are using this season in the National Conference to be move into the professional ranks next season.
The building work with the Pumas Junior section also continues to grow, the under 12’s travelled to Durham Tigers in Shildon and were able to dominate the Durham Derby winning 58 16.
Also a huge well done to the Pumas under 14s who beat Durham demons 38-26, the Pumas junior section continues to grow and with the players and coaches coming to the end of the proof of concept period for the Embed the Pathway Project with assessments taking part next week for the Participants, the way ahead for these juniors who will be in line for selection in the NCL and higher levels in only the next few years is seeing the Pumas junior section grow week on week.
Finally, one of the Pumas littlies, 7 year old Thomas Hart travelled to Featherstone this week to take part in their East Training Camp, Thomas was awarded most improved player by the Featherstone Rovers staff and will be going back down to get it presented at Half Time when they host v Halifax in a couple of weeks. Excellent exposure to professional Rugby League environment at an early age whilst strongly maintaining their roles in the local clubs can only see winners everywhere.