Horwich Advertiser Issue 555

The Advertiser September 18th Page 31 Email: news@horwichadvertiser.co.uk Visit our website: www.horwichadvertiser.co.uk Advertiser SPORT Contact the Advertiser team on 01204 478810 LEIGH Centurions star Micky Highamwill be hang- ing up his boots at the end of the season after a career spanning 20 years. The veteran hooker, who made his debut for Leigh in 1999, has clocked up more than 500 appearances and won the Challenge Cup with Warring- ton Wolves in 2010. The 38-year-old also played four times each for Great Brit- ain and England. He first announced he was retiring from playing in Novem- ber 2017 but returned to the field three months later after a number of injuries at Leigh. Higham, who also played for St Helens and Wigan Warriors, said on Twitter: “Well the time has come to call an end to my playing career. “To be able to live my dream for 20 years and now finish on my terms is something I could not have dreamed of. “Had the privilege to play for some great clubs and great play- ers and play for my country. And met some friends for life. “But at the end of the season is the right time to start my next chapter in life. “Loved every minute of it, well nearly every minute, but all good things come to an end.” “Hope I can have a fairytale finish with Leigh this year in the play-offs. But regardless had a blast,” he added. Higham also paid tribute to his family for supporting him through thick and thin. He said: “Massive thanks to my wife for putting up with me through the highs and lows, she’s been a rock. “And thanks to my two boys Harry and Alex for support- ing me and being my number one fans. “So here’s to the next 20 years, thanks everyone for your support.” NEW Bolton Wanderers manager Keith Hill says he will protect the “special group” of young players that helped ensure the survival of the crisis club. Bolton relied on youth play- ers in their opening six games, with just five senior profession- als contracted to the club before the takeover. Hill made nine dead- line-day additions. “You could ruin a team of 18-year-olds with what’s hap- pened to them,” said Hill. “They showed tremendous courage.” The 50-year-old succeeded Phil Parkinson as Wanderers manager, the latter having been forced to depend on youngsters in every game he was in charge of this season before resigning on 22 August. Parkinson fielded Bolton’s youngest ever team, with a starting line-up with an average age of 19, as they held Coventry WIGAN Warriors young-gun Morgan Smithies has been shortlisted for Super League Young Player of theYear. The England academy international has made 20 appearances since making his debut earlier this season. The teenage forward is among five players in the running for the award, along with Matty Lees (St Helens), last year’s winner Jake Trueman (Castleford) and Leeds duo JackWalker andHarryNewman. The winner, who will be revealed at the Super League Awards evening on October 6, will be chosen by the rugby leaguemedia. Players have to be under 21 at the start of the sea- son to qualify for the award. The shortlist was drawn up by the England PerformanceUnit. George Williams and Oliver Gildart are recent win- ners of the Super LeagueYoung Player of theYear. HORWICH’S Pip Nuttall, com- peting at under-13, added the Yorkshire title to the Lancashire Combined Events Open she won earlier this year when she was victorious at the Dorothy Hyman Stadium in Barnsley. She started off with a personal best of 7.18m in the shot put, consolidated her position in the long jump before winning the 800m in another PB of 2:42.18 to give her a total points score of 1,306. Coaches Trevor Williams and Paul Wibberley joined her family in applauding her success this year built on hard work and talent. In a successful week for the club’s juniors, a sunny Bedford Stadium held the English National Champi- onships where two young athletes reached finals and performed excep- tionally well. Niall Maloney qualified for the final eight and then got in all six jumps to finish seventh in England at u17s for the long jump, including a PB of 6.49m. Sophie Walton, also compet- ing at u17s, doubled up running in both sprint distances and qualified for the finals. In the 100m, despite a poor start, she fought back to take second place – achieving a PB of 11.96 along the way. On Sunday, in the 200m, she stormed away from the start line and was increasing her lead as she crossed the line in gold medal position, mak- ing it a fourth national title in 2019. Building on her Yorkshire success, Nuttall went to the Southport and Waterloo Open meeting and picked up gold, silver and bronze medals in the high jump, long jump and 70m hurdles. Also at this event, Isaac Parker was a winner of two gold medals at u20s in the 200m and 400m races. Emma Bradley ran the Burnsall fell race in the BOFRA series of tough short fell races and was third girl at u14s which, with two races remaining, puts her in a good position of achiev- ing third overall. STATESIDE Foods Bolton Arena has named Steven Fathers as the new tennis head coach. With 25 years coaching experience, Steven has workedat theArena as aperformance coach for over 15 years producingmany regional andnational play- ers. With his wealth of coaching experience Bolton Arena can look forward to the future of tennis. In the summer of 2018 Bolton Arena was cho- sen as a regional player development centre by the LTA. The regional player development centres pro- vide high level support to junior players with high potential aged between 10 – 14 years. The regional centres also provide an exceptional standard of coaching and structured sessions geared towards the athletic development necessary to progress to a national academy. Stuart Kay, Head of Sport, said: “Bolton Arena is part of the Lawn Tennis Association Regional Player Development Centre performance pathway, hav- ing a knowledgeable professional coaching team is imperative to our success. We have built up an excellent reputation in the northwest for providing a fantastic pathway for all players. Steven has been a key part of our success over many years, he now steps up as head coach, I’m very confident Steven and his team will continue to develop players to reach their full potential.” Steven Fathers added: “I am delighted to be appointed. I am really excited and fully committed, to further grow the profile and exceptionally high standards at the Academy. I will be working hard to shape a very strong teamof coaches, to help players push their aspirational boundaries and reach their full potential. I want toensure that BoltonArena is an engaging, supportive and enjoyable environment for players, parents and coaches, to achieve the very best outcomes both on and off the court.” New Wanderers boss won’t ‘mentally ruin’ young players NewWanderers manager Keith Hill says he is ‘planning for war’ Morgan magic Veteran Higham hangs up boots Pip wins Yorkshire title Pip Nuttall New tennis head coach at Arena Got a sports story? Email the Editor mike@independentnewspapers.co.uk to a goalless draw in their sec- ond match. Before his final match in charge, a 5-0 defeat at Tranmere, he said the club had contacted the English Football League over welfare concerns. Bolton subsequently post- poned a midweek League One match against Doncaster because of those concerns, with Parkinson then quitting as man- ager days later. Hill said the recruitment drive overseen by the new owners, which started with the return of of experienced ex-Liverpool and Leicester City defender Jack Hobbs, will ensure the club can properly develop its youth players again. Hill said: “I’ma big advocate of bringing young players through, I love devel- oping players, but I need to be able to protect young players. They are at the stage now that they need protection and that means rest, recovery and a pat on the back. “Now let’s learn from the five games played and let’s put a plan in process to develop them individually instead of trying to develop a team of 18-year-olds together. That is what you have to do.” He continued: “It is a big assessment, a mental eventua- tion for those players, but we do not want to mentally ruin that group because they are special.” Hill said that the rest of the season for him, assistant David Flitcroft and their new-look squad, will be like “going to war”. Bolton are bottom of League One on minus 11 points after starting the season with a 12-point deduction. “We are the generals and we are planning for war,” Hill added. “We are in the bunker, plan- ning and mapping out – ‘right, we need all these players to be in that war with us’, and they will be. They have come from every walk of football.”