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Dinnington: Rugby lad Sam battles the odds to win Rob Hurdley trophy

Sam receives his Rob Hurdley - Spirit of Rugby trophy from his DRUFC team coach Richard Cockerham (left), Mark Harrison and Dave Brothwell

Sam receives his Rob Hurdley - Spirit of Rugby trophy from his DRUFC team coach Richard Cockerham (left), Mark Harrison and Dave Brothwell

Courage, strength and perseverance are qualities needed by all rugby players and nine-year-old Sam Walshaw is no exception.

The budding young sportsman battled against the odds as a poorly baby.

But he is now proving doctors wrong by keeping up with his team mantes on the pitch at Dinnington Rugby Club.

And in recognition of achieving three years playing with the club, Sam, who plays with the under nines, has been handed the Rob Hurdley - Spirit of Rugby Trophy.

Mr Hurdley, a former DRUFC player and junior team coach, died in October 2012.

Sam’s coaches Richard Cockerham, Mark Pinder and John Stansfield, decided he should get the award which can be given to anyone at DRUFC, to recognise dedication to the sport despite obstacles that stand in the way.

Sam was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) which means he was born without a diaphragm.

At just five days old he had an operation to put a goretex patch in to replace it.

Children born with CDH only have a 50 per survival rate on average.

But after 10 weeks in hospital Sam was discharged and has only had to return for routine check-ups.

“Before birth and ever since we have always been told Sam would probably not be able to keep up with his peers in sport and that he would almost certainly have respiratory problems,” said Sam’s mum Clare Walshaw. “We are lucky that Sam does not have these problems.”

Sam played two years of tag rugby which left him wanting to continue into the contact sport.

His mum explained: “It has been the fantastic support of the other players and wonderful encouragement of his coaches that have given him this desire.”

Sam, who goes to Anston Hillcrest Primary School, was handed the impressive gong at DRUFC’s May Day Festival on 4th May.

He told the Guardian: “I feel very proud and extremely happy to get this award.”

Clare added: “Although Sam never knew Rob Hurdley, he has heard a lot about him and knows that he meant a lot to many people at the club.”

 

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