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Raiders finally have a home game this Sunday

10th May 2018, 12:54

Raiders finally have a home game this Sunday

WEST Wales Raiders have only their second home game of the season this Sunday as they take on Doncaster at Stebonheath Park in Llanelli (kick-off 3pm)

and the club’s chairman Andrew Thorne has called on the south and west Wales public to give their full support to the side.

Recent weeks have seen heavy defeats away from home but Thorne believes that at home, where they’ve not yet been given much of a chance to shine, they could be more competitive.

“The one thing a lot of people haven’t picked up on is that we’ve played seven games this season and only one of those was at home,” he said. “That’s been tough on the players and has taken its toll.

“Our first and only home game so far was on the same day as one of Scarlets’ biggest games of the season and we still drew a good crowd under the circumstances.

“The Doncaster game is a big one for us. We could have our strongest side out so far this season and the players will need the full support of every fan in the area.”

South Wales Scorpions v Keighley Cougars 2011

The importance of a club in the bottom half of Wales cannot be underestimated. Since 2006, when Celtic Crusaders were formed, Wales have fielded 56 players who played for them or South Wales Scorpions, many of whom came through a youth or community side in the area.

The Scorpions, formed after Celtic Crusaders were bought by Wrexham AFC, reached the League 1 play-offs in 2010 - their first year - under coach Anthony Seibold (now head coach of Australian NRL side South Sydney Rabbitohs). They beat Workington Town at home in their first game and over the next three years, regularly beat sides from the north of England with Doncaster, Gateshead Thunder, Rochdale Hornets, Oldham and Keighley Cougars all among the Scorpions’ victims.

Original Scorpions owner Phil Davies left the club at the end of 2013 and after that, wins were tougher to come by with Wales Rugby League running the club on a balanced budget in 2014-15 before handing over the reins to new owners in 2016. Midway through the 2017 season, when the club were suffering financial difficulties, Thorne and the Raiders stepped in.

Thorne knows that it will take some time to get back to the level that the Scorpions were when they started, but it’s a case of they must go through the pain before the gain.

He said: “We rescued professional rugby league in the area late last season and we knew it was going to be difficult.

“But since then, we’ve been doing so much building off the field to give rugby league a solid foundation for the future. So many organisations are built on sand and we’ve ensured that ours is on stone.

“At Stebonheath Park in Llanelli, we’ve established a long term home venue that we run, with financial security going forward and we’ve just secured a training venue with faculties clubs in higher leagues would be proud of.

“We have an under 16s squad that are soon to be linked with Super League clubs plus we have helped to start a new community club in Llanelli Knights, making that two rugby league teams in the town.

“We actively control and coach two university sides in the south of Wales with one of them, Swansea, having a 100% record this season and pushing for promotion to the top level of the university game.

“We are continuing to build with more news coming soon but for now, the players need you to cheer them on at Stebonheath Park in Llanelli on Sunday.”

 Tickets for West Wales Raiders v Doncaster can be bought by going to https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/westwalesraiders.