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So Long, And Thanks for All the Points....

By apb
May 9 2006

So we now have a list of those who are staying to dog it out in National Division 1 and win the Tykes a place at the top table once again, and those who – for whatever reason – are moving on to pastures new.

If you haven’t seen it (where have you been?!?!?) here is an extract from the official press release:


Chief Executive Gary Hetherington has been meeting with the entire squad for the past fortnight in order to ascertain which players were committed to the Tykes and their bid to return to the top flight.
Commenting on the departures Hetherington said, “It is important to establish some certainty to our playing squad position. We have tried hard to retain the players we wanted and it is clearly disappointing to be losing some of them but the intensity of competition from so many Premiership clubs made our task an impossible one.

“We now know what we have and at the end of the day we only want players who want to be here. We are about to enter an entirely new era for Leeds Tykes and it is one that is focused on building something special and long lasting. We will have a better team next season than we have had this one,” added Hetherington.

Hetherington confirmed that the Tykes will have a 25-man senior professional full time first team squad next season in addition to a number of the talented Academy products who will work alongside the senior squad.

He also confirmed that the club had already confirmed deals with a number of players and that they intend to announce a new Director of Rugby in the near future.

Those players who have told the club they no longer wish to remain at Headingley Carnegie are as follows:

Iain Balshaw, Chris Bell, Gordon Bulloch, Danny Care, Andy Craig, David Doherty, Dan Hyde, Mark McMillan, Tom Palmer, Richard Parks, Roland Reid, Gordon Ross and David Rees.

In contrast, Tom Biggs, Lee Blackett, Michael Cusack, Roland De Marigny, Jon Dunbar, Stuart Hooper, James Isaacson, Chris Jones, Scott Morgan, Chris Murphy, Rob Rawlinson, Nathan Thomas and Rob Vickerman have committed their future to the club and the challenge of returning to the Guinness Premiership


I thought in order to get another article published, I’d go through this list and add my slant on the comings, goings and stayings.




Iain Balshaw: Perhaps one of the more difficult ones to call right at the start. Part of me thinks “after all the medical bills the Tykes paid for him, this is how he thanks us?”. Part of me also thinks that it is perhaps a good thing. He was on a whopping salary, and there’s plenty out there who could adequately fill his boots at full back or wing on a quarter of his salary. With the world cup coming in barely 18 months time, Balsh needs to be playing in the premiership to stand a chance of getting the ferry to France when the time comes. A loss to the team, no doubt about it, but not really a surprise.


Chris Bell: A great player who I find it difficult to remain convinced that he’s only 23. It was always known he had a relegation clause in his contract, so no surprises that he’s going. Another one who was on the physios table more often than on the pitch this season. Again, bit of a pity he didn’t want to dog it out with the rest of ‘em, but with England suffering a crisis in the centres at the moment, Belly obviously wants to get noticed.


Gordon Bulloch: Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the season was that Bulloch never really found any form. Word in The Scotsman has it that he agreed a severance deal with the Tykes, so one or the other of the two parties wanted out. I would imagine it suited both sides, and – sad to say – he won’t really be missed by many of the fans.


Danny Care: What can I say that hasn’t already been said?  Everyone nationwide has recognised the talent in Danny Care, and he has been the target of half a dozen Premiership clubs just waiting to get their hands on a good scrum-half. A product of the Tykes academy and a local boy from Adel, there just hasn’t been a strong enough call of the homeland to keep Danny in Yorkshire. Some posters have assumed he’s been “badly advised” and that he’d be “better off playing first XV rugby in ND1 for a season”. I think Danny’s old enough to make up his own mind really, don’t you?


Andy Craig: Andy was signed as cover in the centres during the early part of 2006, and although appearing for a couple of games, never really stood a chance of a start once Bell et al were fit. The cynic in me would say that he would think about staying had we not been relegated, but then of course we don’t know on what terms he’s parted from us anyway. It could be that the 25 pro players couldn’t afford to carry a fringe squad player like Craig was this season.


David Doherty: Another of “The Children”, as we rather patronisingly have taken to calling the Academy products, and another very bad loss to the Tykes. No knowledge of where he’ll go as yet, but there are plenty of fans of other clubs out there who would love to see the Doc running their wing. He was signed up to the Tykes to “keep Docherty playing for Leeds Rugby, regardless of code – Union or League. Now, sadly, he’s lost to both sides.


Dan Hyde: Another sad loss, but was beginning to lose his spark, and was rarely getting a start in the back row, not least because of a new found proneness to injury, but also because of the undoubted talent that was there ahead of him. Another of the long time stalwarts, he should be able to get a reasonable deal elsewhere.


Mark McMillan: Didn’t really work out, did he? McMillan was supposed to be the best thing since Scottish sliced bread, and was touted as the big thing in scrum-halves before Danny Care was even heard of outside LS16. Kept out of the side for most of last year by Alan Dickens, and this year even the understudy spot he has been usurped by the aforementioned Danny Care.


Tom Palmer: After what seems like a lifetime at Leeds, including half a season as team captain, big Tom is finally moving on. He’s always been there or thereabouts on the fringes of England selection without ever having quite got there. Could it be because he wasn’t at a fashionable, “old school” club? Rumour has it that Tom is going to Wasps, so we’ll find out in due course.


Richard Parks: Very sorry to see Parksy go. A gentleman off the pitch, an animal on it, he has been one of the most consistent performers in the Tykes team during his tenure at Headingley, and someone of his calibre ought to have made mincemeat of the ND1 opposition. Todays papers suggest he may be off to France. Bon voyage, et bon chance!


Roland Reid: Another backrower off, but this time one we didn’t really get a chance to see in action, and therefore difficult to tell if things would have come right for him. Another one of those “permanently crocked” brigade that seems, on the face of it, to have been a poor buy.


Gordon Ross: The enigma that is Gordon Ross is off to Castres, presumably to meet up with his old oppo Phil Christophers, I think we will miss Goggsy more than we think now. We plucked him from obscurity on the benches of Edinburgh, and help him to gain some form that put him in as joint first choice fly-half in the Scotland set-up. Inconsistency for the Tykes has dogged him though, with some fans being none too glad to see the back of him. Tine will tell.


David Rees: I feel for David Rees at the moment. Either crocked and unavailable, or usurped by the dynamic young things from the Academy, he hasn’t got much of a look-in this season. I will remember that sunny day in Bath last year when we’d finally clinched the win that would keep us up for one more year, and the sheer enthusiasm and joy coming from David that day was brilliant. (Yes Dave, it was me you hugged!!!!!).


Next week, I’ll do the stayers, and hopefully we’ll have more info on incoming players and managerial staff!


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