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Home > News > England Counties XV cloud has silver lining for Williams
Your News England Counties XV cloud has silver lining for Williams

The dark clouds which surrounded Tynedale RU prop John Williams on the first day of the England Counties XV tour to America and Canada finally revealed a silver lining today when he was chosen to play in the Test match against a Canada Select XV in Chatham, Kent tomorrow (Friday, June13).

The 25-year-old, an Ambassador for Doctor Barnados when he is not squeezing his considerable frame into a go-kart, is on his second Counties tour having been with them to Argentina and Uruguay in 2005, but his presence on the trip was put in serious jeopardy when he picked up a serious dead-leg in Northumberlands County Championship Shield win over Cornwall.

The decision of the medical staff that the damage could be repaired was vindicated by his appearance in the second-match of the tour against a USA Select XV in New York and now he gets the chance of an outing in the game which the management have been regarding as the principle game of the trip.

Its been a good tour. It started off slowly for me because of the injury, but thanks to the Andy Smith, the doctor, and physio Rachel Galley, I played in the second game and thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was a big relief that I was allowed to come on the tour, but I felt a bit guilty that I missed the first game and couldnt train and be part of the squad for the first four days. Now thats behind me and Im loving every minute of it.

Its been totally different to the South America trip, but just as enjoyable. We have a fantastic group of lads and I get on really well with all of them. Its a top-notch trip. Its a very professional operation and the guys are working very hard for each other, which is all you can ask for from 26 players coming together for the first time and trying to gel as best they can.

Thats what weve done on this tour and the previous one. Were from a range of different clubs and styles of play, but its a very talented group and weve put those differences on one side to make it work as quickly as we could.

Im fairly quiet and like to be one my own, but on this trip Ive got involved and found myself walking around with people I wasnt sure Id get on with, so its been a good experience.

We knew from the start of the tour that the Canada game was going to be the biggest match of the trip and to be involved is a great way to finish after the earlier disappointments.

Williams, who has 25 senior games for Newcastle Falcons under his belt, is joined by Blaydons Andrew Fenby, who in turn is looking to maintain his momentum after scoring twice in the opening 37-3 win over the USA Select XV in New York.

Further Northern involvement includes the inclusion of five of the six Manchester players in the squad.

The only anxiety now for the party is the weather forecast. The area of Chatham Kent, 250 miles south of Toronto, is on the edge of Tornado Alley and storms are predicted for tomorrow night which, at their most severe, could bring an abandonment of the game.

After countless hours spent by a club of only 40 members and the support network of the rural community, that is the one part of the equation which has everyone casting a weather-eye skywards with a prayer on their lips.

England Counties (v Canada Select in Chatham, Kent, Friday, June 13, 2008, 6.30 pm local time): Ben Coulbeck (Cheshire & Manchester); Tom Jarvis (Gloucestershire/Stourbridge), Oliver Winter (North Midlands/Moseley), Scott Rawlings (Staffordshire/Manchester), Andrew Fenby (Blaydon/Northumberland); Richard Wainwright (Yorkshire/Manchester), Nathan Jones (Warwickshire/Coventry); Timothy Mathias (Devon/Plymouth), Liam Wordley (Staffordshire/Henley) capt, Philip Boulton (Warwickshire/Bedford Blues), Stephen Pape (Somerset/Cornish All Blacks), Matthew Owen (Cheshire/Manchester), Dan Hyde (Yorkshire/Otley), James Kellard (Essex/Blackheath), Mark Evans (North Midlands/Moseley).

Replacements: James Doherty (Lancashire/Wharfedale), Gavin Beasley(Northumberland/Tynedale), Andre Wilson (Cheshire/Manchester), Christopher Whitehead (Warwickshire/Coventry), John Williams (Northumberland/Tynedale), Sebastian Moss (Lancashire/Manchester), Mike Denbee (Somerset/Plymouth Albion).

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