David Clegg Continues His In-Depth Introduction Of The Senior Players Of Our U19s Squad With Recent Acquisition, Lewis Hatton
Having started his rugby career at those bastions of St Helens amateur rugby league, Pilkington Recs and Clock Face Miners, it is hardly surprising that back row forward, Lewis Hatton, was kept under observation from an early age by the town’s professional outfit, leading eventually to their signing him to their Youth setup.
Although Pilkington Recs is the team whose name most of us would the more readily recognise, it was after a mere twelve months with them that he moved across town to join Clock Face, the lure being that most of his friends played over there. Indeed, many of them were friends from school whom he played alongside in the school team, which was where he had first been introduced to the game as a player, although he had been a number of times to watch the Saints, so had developed a knowledge about the game from an early age.
Having made that early move to Clock Face, he became so settled with them that he stayed there right through to the end of the U18s season. His initial position was loose forward, but on joining the Saints Scholarship U15s’ side, they recognised the value of his pace out wide, and so moved him to second row.
Lewis himself enjoys elements of both positions. He likes being heavily involved in the defence at loose forward, and also taking the ball up, but similarly relishes the additional space that is afforded towards the edges, and he has learned now to exploit this to the full.
After two seasons with the Scholarship, he moved on to become part of the U19s squad for a further two years, but then his time with the Saints began to unravel somewhat, as selection to the team became much less regular, particularly in what was to be his final season there, at the end of which he learned that his existing contract was not to be extended for the third year.
No sooner does one door close than another opens, and this particular door was that at the A J Bell, where newly appointed U19s coach, Garreth Carvell, met with him and offered him a contract. Lewis tells me he was overjoyed as he considers Salford to be a really good club, and he was also aware of their emphasis on Youth Development.
He has, in fact, found things here very much to his liking, particularly the fact that training is actually here at the stadium, whereas at St Helens the U19s had been consigned to being at Cowley International College on the outskirts of the town.
“It feels much more professional, rubbing shoulders with the first teamers,” he maintains, “and the facilities here are first class.”
Among those first teamers are former U19s players, Jake Bibby, Josh Wood and Ryan Lannon, all of whom played Super League rugby, last season, and whose presence around the club provides him with the inspiration to emulate them.
For now, though, he is just keenly awaiting the start of the season, so that he can begin proving himself, and earn a further contract here. He believes that his extra turn of pace, coupled with the rugby skills he possesses, will add an extra dimension to our forwards, but it is his work ethic which he believes will impress most of all.
I am sure there will be many regular U19s spectators who will be looking forward to seeing him in action, next season.