The heat, rock hard pitches and the poverty to be seen everywhere, were certainly an eye opener for Irlam lad Joe Connor when he went on tour to Jamaica, representing Great Britain on the British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA) under 24’s tour to Jamaica last month.
Joe pictured in his tour kit is a regular for local side Irlam Hornets ARLFC and was the first overseas tourist to be selected from the Hornets, his participation on the trip was only made possible thanks to generous local sponsors and the support from his Club and proud parents Graham and Pam. Including new boots and trainers courtesy of the Irlam and Cadishead Times.
Joe played in all three games on the tour against Jamaica ‘B’, the Hurricanes and Jamaica ‘A’ (National team) with the BARLA team racking up almost 200 points winning all games comfortably. Even though the temperatures reached a roasting 34 degrees, during the final game against the Jamaica National side that will be competing in the next Rugby League World Cup.
The team were based at ‘Half Way Tree’ a small town just outside the capital Kingston and one of the highlights for Joe was visiting two local High Schools where they helped to coach Rugby League to the students aged between 11 and 17.
Joe added, “It was certainly the trip of a lifetime and a real eye opener there was a lot of poverty but the young people liked us coaching them and I even donated two Irlam Hornets shirts and shorts which they loved.”