Bolton Mets player earns international call-up

On the back of a successful season, our Captain Rick Ackers has earned himself a place on the North West English Lionhearts Tour.

Rick returned to Bolton Mets for a small number of games in 2017, after nearly a decade away from the game, but really got back into his Rugby League at the start of 2018 after some encouraging words from Chairman and former teammate Stuart Cooke.

In February, he started the Old Boys game on the bench but quickly entered the fray and made his mark. As well as using his knowledge and experience to add a bit of steel to the defence, he continued to take the ball to the line and cause the opposition problems. In the second half, a ball steal and a near 90 metre sprint saw him score the try of the game and cement the win for Bolton Mets, this set him on the path to a great year.

The league season saw Rick play every minute of each of the first 8 games, not bad going for a forward, and once back from holiday he played in every other remaining game, including the end of season tour fixture vs North Brussels Gorillas. His final tally was 18 apps from 19 games, 32 points scored, and 4 Oppositions Man of the Match awards, which went along way to earning him the Oppositions Player of the Season and second place in the Players Player of the Season at our Awards Evening.

The consistency shown by Rick was the major reason we nominated him for the Lionhearts trial, and along with Daryl Devlin he ventured to the home of Thatto Heath Crusaders for his chance to win his place on the plane. Both players certainly did well, particularly as they were mixing it with the best of the best from NWML Premier and Division 1, but it was Rick who stood out enough to catch the eye of the selectors.

Having received the phone call to confirm his place on the tour, Rick showed his gratitude to the club and coaches for helping him to get fit and improve as a player, and for giving him the chance to represent his country. The tour will see a squad of 20+ players travel to Jamaica for two weeks in July and play three games, one against a local semi pro side before two games against a Jamaica Select XIII.

As the tour is totally self funded, Rick now has to raise the £2200 to pay for his place, but with the help of the club and some fund raising events we hope this will be achievable. If anyone would like to donate to the cause, or have ideas of how to raise funds, then please get in touch.

Rick isn’t the first Bolton Mets member to feature in a NWML tour, Stuart Cooke was a staff member in Canada 2014 and Serbia 2015, whilst Chris Piercy was a player on the Serbia 2015 tour. This just goes to show what can be achieved if you join this hard working and forward thinking club.

From all at Bolton Mets, we wish Rick all the luck in the world and hope he enjoys the tour and relishes the chance to represent himself, the club and his country.

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