York still hunting for saviour

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The Independent Online

York have not given up hope of rising from the ashes, despite a decision this week to wind up the club.

York have not given up hope of rising from the ashes, despite a decision this week to wind up the club.

More than a hundred years of professional rugby league in the city seemed to have come to an end when the club's board decided to pull the plug with debts of around £35,000.

But since then there have been expressions of interest from potential saviours. "It's up to us to find someone and there have been a couple of phone calls that make me think there might be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel," said the club's chief executive, Ann Garvey.

The board was in discussions with the Rugby League yesterday and has agreed to keep looking for a way out of its crisis, though Sunday's game with Gateshead has been postponed.

"If someone comes in quickly enough, that game can be back on. Our debts are not big compared to some other clubs, but we have been badly hit by a lack of local sponsorship and poor gates. There were only 280 here when we played Chorley and that makes you wonder whether it's fair to carry on."

The club's Australian coach, Leo Epifania, is staying in the country waiting for developments, although York's players are technically free agents after not being paid for last month.

St Helens have re-signed two of their outstanding young players, Tim Jonkers and Anthony Stewart, on three-year deals. Both were out of contract at the end of this season and Jonkers, in particular, was rumoured to be a target for Australian clubs. The part-Dutch player was Saints' only ever-present last year. Stewart, who has also become a first-team regular, scored 12 tries last season.

Wakefield are trying to bring in players on loan in time for their match against Salford on Saturday. Trinity were down to 14 fit players after last weekend's Challenge Cup defeat by Leeds, with their Fijian winger, Waisale Sovatabua, added to the injury list with a chronic knee problem.

Their coach, Peter Roe, hopes that several players will recover in time to face Salford and he has Ben Westwood returning after suspension, but admits that he needs reinforcements.

London Broncos have signed the 19-year-old second-rower, Richard Moore, on a month's loan from Bradford, and will also have their winger, Dom Peters, available against Castleford on Sunday after making only six appearances in an injury-ravaged last season.

England are to embark on a Pacific tour this autumn, while the full Great Britain team is playing New Zealand in a home Test series. The tour party will consist of players who do not make the Great Britain squad.

Maurice Lindsay, who was involved in drawing up the tour plan in his new role as vice-chairman of the International Federation, said: "It will not just be a side of kids. The team will have a blend of experience and youth. We will be treating the Pacific nations with respect."

The tour, in October and November, will visit Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, plus Samoa, if they can get the game there back on track after a virtual shut-down because of the losses sustained from the last World Cup.

Huddersfield will be without their full-back Paul Reilly for their key Northern Ford Premiership fixture at Leigh this Sunday. Reilly has been banned for one match for striking, while Hull KR's Bob Everitt received the same punishment for a tripping offence in the same match.

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