Following the completion of their highly successful season, Castleford Tigers’ youth development held an end of season awards night for their under 15 and under 16 academy sides.
The under 16s completed their year with an unbeaten home record in front of attendances that continued to grow through the season.
With over half of the current first team squad coming through the ranks of the club’s youth development programme, it is evident that the structure is one of the best in Super League and the pathway of “homegrown” talent is evident with the emphasis and the importance the club has on its youth structures.
The awards were sponsored by O2 Junction 32 Shopping Outlet, and their marketing operations manager Habib Khatib presented the awards.
The under 16s Craig Huby Outstanding Scholar award went to Brandon Westerman, with the under 16s’ most improved award given to Will Cooke. The under 15s’ Richard Owen Rising Star was presented to Harry Morland, while Ryan Foster was awarded the under 15s’ most improved player.
First team head coach Daryl Powell spoke to the players and their families about the development and progress of successful players in the game and the commitments required to reach the potential they all had to kick-on to the next level.
He then presented every player in the two squads with certificates and a box-set of match DVDs for the 2013 season, for being successful in completing the Castleford Tigers 2013 Scholarship Programme.
Under 16s head coach Steve Copley said: “I was pleased with the improvements the squad made and the way they matured as players as the season progressed.
“A lot of players showed great progress through the ranks, with the youngsters from the under 15s highlighting the promise the squads have within them. I’m looking forward to seeing them move through the infrastructure of the youth programme.”
Head of youth Richard Tunningley added: “I’m delighted how the under 15s have stepped up into the under 16s side and how well the squads have acquitted themselves.
“I’m really pleased with the effort and commitment of the under 16 side and the development they have made as the year progressed, with some really good quality players that will progress in the game, showing the great deal of talent the club has in its youth development structures.”
Tunningley thanked director Terry Cheesbrough and his wife for their assistance and help with the evening with thanked Habib Khatib and O2 Junction 32 Shopping Outlet, Steve Copley and his team of coaches and Matthew Merrick for his work behind the scenes, and voluntary work with media coverage.