Three disabled politicians are welcoming a “partial victory” over the government, after a minister announced 12 months’ worth of new funding to support disabled candidates who want to stand for elected office.Women and equalities minister Penny Mordaunt announced that the government would provide “up to” £250,000 to assist disabled people with the additional impairment-related costs they face in standing for election in the next 12 months.The funding will be the first to help with such costs – although a new fund has been set up in Scotland by the Scottish government – since the UK government froze its Access to Elected Office Fund (AEOF) in 2015.Despite the announcement, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has still not published a long-awaited review of AEOF, which ran from 2012 to 2015.A GEO spokeswoman said the publication of the review was now “imminent”, and that “arrangements” for the new funding would be announced “shortly”.But she stressed that the funding did not mean AEOF had been reopened but that it was “a new arrangement drawing on lessons from the fund”.Lawyers for Labour’s Emily Brothers, Liberal Democrat David Buxton and the Green party’s Simeon Hart had written to the government to warn that the government had breached the Equality Act by failing to complete the review and reopen the fund.They say they have effectively been unable to stand as candidates in a general election since the government froze the fund.More United, the cross-party campaign group which is supporting them, said the legal action had not been withdrawn because it had not yet received a formal letter from the government.Buxton said initially that it was “a partial victory” while Brothers said she was “delighted” with the new funding but that there was “still a good way to go to secure a long term solution”.Buxton, Brothers and Hart later called on political parties to adopt all-disabled shortlists in target parliamentary seats “so that disabled candidates can make as much progress as possible in the next 12 months”.AEOF offered grants to disabled people to pay for some of their additional impairment-related costs in standing for election, usually as a councillor or MP, such as the costs of British Sign Language interpreters, taxis, support workers or assistive technology.Buxton said the funding was “so important as major parties are already engaged in selecting candidates for target seats ahead of the next general election” and it would “allow disabled candidates to compete in elections on a level playing field”.He called on all political parties to use all-disabled shortlists in some target seats “and to tackle other barriers that disabled candidates face”.Brothers said: “I hope that all political parties will engage in the 12-month programme of work to tackle barriers facing disabled candidates and through that process recognise that the right of disabled candidates to participate in elections at all levels can only be guaranteed whilst a central government fund exists to support disabled candidates with the additional costs they incur.”Hart said public support for the campaign had been “fantastic”, and he added: “MPs from major parties, and some of Britain’s most prominent disabled public figures have all sent a clear message to the government that the fund must be restored to create a level playing field.“We’re determined to keep up the pressure in the coming months in order to secure a long-term solution.”Mordaunt told MPs that the representation of disabled people in the country’s parliaments, assemblies and councils was “far too low”. But she said the task of supporting disabled candidates was “primarily political parties’ responsibility… just as they must also support disabled employees”.She said GEO was to take part over the next 12 months in “a programme of work to help political parties to best support their disabled candidates and to consider how independent candidates can be supported, too”.While this is taking place, she said, the government would provide “up to a quarter of a million pounds to support disabled candidates for elections in the forthcoming year”.Picture: (From left) Eleanor Lisney, David Buxton, Simeon Hart and Emily Brothers outside 10 Downing Street with a petition calling for the fund to be reopened
SAY hello to another four players who will be touring Australia shortly.Joe Ryan is a loose forward who signed from Bold Miners, having previously played for Rylands.Adam Saunders is a full Back or centre who signed from Thatto Heath Crusaders.Aaron Smith is a hooker who signed from Blackbrook Royals.Connor Smith is a second row or prop forward from Blackbrook Royals having previously played at Clock Face.Many thanks to the sponsors who made the trip possible for this quartet.They are:G ManleyEvolve Contract Services Hope AcademyThe remaining three players and staff will be introduced tomorrow.To find out the latest on the Australia Tour and to meet the other players, click here.
PAUL Wellens and Mark Percival grabbed a brace apiece as Saints eased past Castleford 38-16.In a much improved performance they denied an in form Tigers who threw everything they had at them in the first half.Saints led 22-4 at the break as they took full advantage of the chances that came their way.On balance it was an even opening 40, but Wellens alongside Luke Walsh and the effectual Lance Hohaia led Nathan Brown’s men to a solid foundation.Cas had their moments but couldn’t keep control of the ball.In the second Saints controlled matters and Mark Percival early try put the scoreline beyond the Tigers.He then notched his second after Walsh had capped a great show with his fifth of the season – to send Saints top.Saints welcomed Jon Wilkin back into the line-up but were missing Alex Walmsley through suspension.Michael Shenton, Marc Sneyd, Jake Webster, Daryl Clark and Andy Lynch all returned for Cas.Both sides began with good kick chases before errors erased any hopes of either building up some momentum.But then Saints struck out of nowhere in the sixth minute.Mark Flanagan broke down the right hand side, offloaded Jamie Lyon-esque and Tommy Makinson showed great pace and awareness to round his man.Walsh wide with the extras.Saints almost struck again on 13 minutes and then a minute later Castleford rampaged through the middle but failed to find a man with the pass.Handling errors blighted both sides’ progression up the field but the Tigers took advantage when Saints looked more likely.Lance Hohaia broke through but lost the ball and seconds later, on the last, a sweeping move saw Kirk Dixon get over in the corner.Saints hit back on 25 minutes. Hohaia darted to the line; found Paul Wellens on his inside and the fullback showed a great sidestep to bamboozle Luke Dorn.Walsh with the conversion.And five minutes later a simple move after Saints forced a drop out saw Jordan Turner increase the lead.Walsh making it 16-4 after 30 minutes.The Tigers continued to come and Saints had Matty Dawson to thank after he defended a high kick right on his line.But Saints landed a killer blow right on half time and it came from absolutely nothing.Walsh sent a kick over for Makinson to chase but James Clare collected with ease.To his credit Tommy didn’t give it up though and he tackled the Cas’ winger forcing him towards touch.Clare had no option to throw it inside – but Luke Dorn missed the bouncing ball and Wellens duly collected for his second of the afternoon.Walsh tagging on his third kick for Saints to lead 22-4 at half time.Saints forced a drop out early doors in the second half and took full advantage.Firstly, Wellens was held up over the line, then a last gasp tackle denied James Roby under the sticks.And then, when the ball went right, Willie Manu was held up too.But on the last, it came left, Castleford failed to deal with a kick and Mark Percival crossed.Walsh kicking the extras.Percival could have had his second in the 57th minute but was denied right in the corner.But up popped Luke Walsh with 15 minutes to go to put the game to bed.Castleford knocked the ball on and on the free play the scrum half kicked through to Makinson – he was tackled without the ball – but Walsh followed it up.Moments later Wellens went through the middle and Mark Percival nudged his second.Marc Sneyd and Luke Dorn scored late consolations for Cas but Saints were always on top.Match Summary:Saints: Tries: Makinson, Wellens (2), Turner, Percival (2), WalshGoals: Walsh (5 from 8)Tigers: Tries: Dixon, Sneyd, DornGoals: Sneyd (2 from 3)Penalties: Tigers: 3Saints: 4HT: 22-4FT: 38-16REF: Richard SilverwoodATT: 12,648Teams:Saints:17. Paul Wellens; 2. Tommy Makinson 3. Jordan Turner, 22. Mark Percival, 26. Matty Dawson; 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Luke Walsh; 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 12. Jon Wilkin, 15. Mark Flanagan, 11. Sia Soliola.Subs: 13. Willie Manu, 27. Greg Richards, 28. Luke Thompson, 33. Andre Savelio.Tigers:6. Luke Dorn; 2. Kirk Dixon, 4. Jake Webster, 3. Michael Shenton, 24. James Clare; 7. Marc Sneyd, 26. Liam Finn; 8. Andy Lynch, 14. Daryl Clark, 10. Craig Huby, 16. Oliver Holmes, 12. Weller Hauraki, 11. Grant Millington.Subs: 13. Nathan Massey, 18. Frankie Mariano, 20. Jamie Ellis, 32. Lee Jewitt.
WE are now just 12 sleeps from our sixth Academy Tour of Australia in 11 years, writes Player Performance Manager Neil Kilshaw. Looking back at the pictures, the brochures, the games and the player names it really hits home at what the club has done for these young men, and importantly what everyone has gotten out of the trips.We have an abundance of stats and anecdotes’ to churn out over the next two weeks as we start the official countdown – but for now I’d like to say a little about how we started out and the journey we’ve been on.Whilst many of the tours merge into one large memory, what stands alone is the night we made the decision to go for it.Sometime in December 2002, Mike Rush, Derek Traynor, Paul Molyneux and myself all agreed that Mike’s daft idea should go ahead and that we were all committed to the fundraising and planning.As a 15-year-old I went on a North West Counties tour in 1993 and thought I had an idea about fundraising due to my own bucket collections and raffle ticket selling… how little did I actually know!So I declared myself the treasurer and the following morning booked three of us an appointment at the bank. I remember the look on Mully’s face when I gave my passport in and he found out my name was actually David!We quickly announced a dozen players and our first fundraiser was a weekend of bag packs at Safeway’s supermarket in the town centre. Supervising Scott Holland was a job in itself as he wore a suit of carrier bags and proceeded to drop a load of crusty baguettes on the floor.Then we had Paul Clough, whose first interest in hoarding money was revealed as he spent most of his shifts collecting all the buckets so he could collate and chat up the young check out girl by asking her to change the £1’s into notes. Just five years later that same Paul Clough was collecting a winner’s medal at Wembley!Amazingly, we got to our total by the summer of 2004 and 21 players and seven staff set off on what now proves to be a defining moment in the development of the Club’s junior pathway. We’ve effectively been fundraising ever since and have had some very sticky moments. The global financial meltdown in 2009 hit us really hard as the exchange rate plummeted to 1.4 dollars to the pound – it had been 2.4 in 2004.It’d be fair to say Mike had some sleepless nights that year as the target seemingly kept moving further away no matter how much we raised, and I can honestly say that the 2009 squad have packed more shopping than I ever will!Throughout the 13 years the biggest factor to the Tour’s success have undoubtedly been the staff. We have an amazing level of continuity with performance coaches and volunteers and it’s with great pride that the initial seven (Mike Rush, Neil Kilshaw, Gordon Pennington, Eric Chisnall, Eric Frodsham, Derek Traynor and Paul Molyneux) all remain involved at the club now, and six of those will be members of the 2015 touring party.In fundraising for so many tours the support of the local community has been a constant and without that backing we wouldn’t have made that first trip let alone six. We have developed a lasting legacy within British Rugby League and the professional leagues are littered with former tourists – staff as well as players.The club’s reputation as a leading force in the development of players is enhanced with every tour, and this has been recognised with our “outstanding” grading in the RFL’s annual accreditation for every year it has been held.In the last few weeks we have really intensified our on-field preparations as we know that the Australians lie in wait. The 2015 squad of 25 Saints are both excited and anxious about the challenges ahead of them, but we know from experience that they will change from “boys to men” before our very eyes.But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, firstly we have 22hrs of flying to negotiate…Mike Rush, Neil Kilshaw and Derek Traynor at Singapore Airport in 2004.The original seven staff!Paul Clough.
The Disciplinary Review Group, which is comprised of Hull Kingston Rovers Chairman Neil Hudgell, Wakefield Trinity Chairman Michael Carter, Oldham Chairman Chris Hamilton, former Hull FC Football Manager Motu Tony alongside Rugby Football League representatives, was launched in November 2016 to assess the current system and identify its strengths and weaknesses.The system was reviewed against best practise in other sport disciplinary proceedings and involved consultation with stakeholders, including a survey on topics such as Match Review Panel and Operational Rules Tribunal sent to club owners, chief executive officers, coaches, players, members of the media and supporters.Changes approved for 2018 onwards are as follows:Early Guilty Plea replaced by Penalty Notice for cases graded A-C. Match Review Panel to decide grade and consult player’s disciplinary record to ascertain what sanction will be handed down:No record showing two or more offences in last 24 months, including one in last 12 months; and no similar offence (as defined in the Sentencing Guidelines) at Grade C or above in last 24 months = penalty at lower end of range (for example – one match for Grade B)Two or more offences in last 24 months, including at least one in last 12 months; or similar offence at Grade C or above in last 24 months = penalty at higher end of range (for example – two matches for Grade B)Cases graded D-F, or where Match Review Panel deem it appropriate not to issue a Penalty Notice, will automatically be referred directly to the independent Operational Rules TribunalPlayers can challenge a Penalty Notice (A-C) – in which case the matter will be determined by the Operational Rules Tribunal. A refundable deposit of £500 for Super League players and £250 for all other players must be lodged when submitting a challenge. If challenge is successful, the deposit shall be returned. Challenges to a Penalty Notice can only be made on the following grounds:Guilt; orImproper Grading of the Offence by the PanelUnsuccessful challenges will result in a one-match increase in sanction where grounds for challenge considered unreasonable. If player is found not guilty then no sanction will be handed out. A successful grading challenge will lead to a sanction that would have been imposed for the revised Grade.Chair of the Disciplinary Review Group, Neil Hudgell, said: “We are very fortunate to be involved in a sport that regularly reviews its own processes seeking improvement and overall excellence.“It’s well documented that the On Field Disciplinary process has been much maligned, often unfairly, down the years. Working in a collegiate manner with the Governing Body and other stakeholders in the game, we have hopefully delivered a set of proposals that lead to improvements in the quality of decision making, consistency and understanding of the basis for those outcomes.”
Story updated 02/02/19The Saints were rewarded for an impressive 36-0 win against local rivals Wigan Warriors in the quarter finals with another home tie in the last four, against holders Leeds Rhinos.The Rhinos underlined their determination to retain the trophy with an emphatic 74-0 win against Warrington Wolves of the Women’s Rugby League Championship.Castleford Tigers, who are having an outstanding season at the top of the Women’s Super League and attracted a record crowd of 1,492 for their 48-8 Challenge Cup quarter final victory over Bradford Bulls, have been drawn away at local rivals Wakefield Trinity.Both semi finals will be played on Sunday July 7, with one of them shown live on the RFL’s Our League platforms, with the winners earning places in the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday July 27 – which will kick off a triple header also including the men’s Coral Challenge Cup semi finals (Hull FC v Warrington Wolves, and Halifax v St Helens).The semi final draw was conducted live on BBC Radio Leeds by two trailblazers in the development of the women’s game over the last two decades – Featherstone Rovers Ladies captain Andrea Dobson, who recently announced her retirement from representative rugby, and former referee Julia Lee.Coral Women’s Challenge Cup semi finalsSt Helens v Leeds Rhinos – Sunday 7th July, 12:30pm kick off.Wakefield Trinity v Castleford TigersTicket Prices:£3 for adults£1 juniors/concessionsFREE for members with a valid season ticket card.