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Old boys are doing fine


Two former members of the Newark Rugby Club Mini and Youth section are making names for themselves far away from Kelham Road.

Tom Ryder is heading for New Zealand this summer to continue his professional career for the provincial team Taranaki.

Ryder, who started his rugby career in the mini and youth sections at Kelham Road and is a former member of Southwell’s Minster School, has accepted a short-term contract to play in the New Zealand Provincial Championship before returning to rejoin his English club Saracens.

The lock (23) is a regular in the Saracens squad and is looking upon the opportunity to play in New Zealand to expand his rugby experience after completing his second full season for the Watford club.

The opening has come about with the appointment of Saracens’ forwards coach Adrian Kennedy who has taken charge of Taranaki.

Eddie Jones, the director of rugby at Saracens, explaining the decision to allow the former Newark player the chance to play in New Zealand, said: “This is a terrific opportunity for Tom, and the chance to get some more rugby under his belt.

“He has not had a lot of game time this season, so playing in a tough competition like the Air New Zealand Cup will really help his development.”

Another former Newark youth player, Greig Tonks, will be spending his summer recovering from a knee injury sustained last winter.

Tonks, who returned to Kelham Road to be guest of honour at the clubs mini presentation day, has recently signed a new contract to continue playing for Leicester next season.

He combined appearances last season at full-back and wing for Leicester’s reserve team alongside a stint on loan at Nottingham where he helped the Meadow Lane-based team to finish second in National League One.

Tonks, who lives in Lowdham, should have been playing for England in the under-20 world championships this month but sustained the knee injury when appearing for the national age-group team in the Six Nations tournament.

There were 67 players, family and friends at the Newark Under-15s presentation evening at the Fox at Kelham for the presentation evening.

The coaches’ player of the season went to Robert Boddy, the players’ player was Harry Cotton and the season’s most consistent player was Bradley Russell-Webster.

Jamie Graham took the award for the most improved player while Joe Tinsley was awarded with the best forwards newcomer and Patrick Ford the best backs newcomer.

Harry Cotton was also best tour player for his performances both on the pitch and for his karaoke rendition of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell.

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