Barrow Raiders sign top centre on two-year deal
BARROW Raiders have made a quick return up the coast to swoop for a second Workington Town player – centre Declan Hulme.
The 23-year-old has inked a two-year deal and now cannot wait to join up with his new club and team-mates.
Moving to Barrow sees Hulme complete his hat-trick of Cumbrian clubs having also been with Whitehaven on dual-registration from Super League Widnes Vikings.
He joins other new faces at Barrow, second rower Jarrad Stack, who was also with Town, and St Helens half-back Lewis Charnock after both also signed for two years.
The move for St Helens-born Hulme followed a conversation with his agent Ian Blease and the club, with Raiders seeing him as an ideal replacement for the now departed Chris Hankinson.
Strike centre Hulme feels Barrow can go one step further in 2017 and book a place in the Championship after they narrowly missed out last season, and he is determined to help them achieve that goal.
“I can’t wait to get going,” he said. “I can’t wait to start kicking on with the club now.
“Andy Gaffney (Barrow Raiders joint director of rugby) was one of the reasons why I signed, he’s a gent and a good bloke to speak to. I got on with him really well and he handled things really well for me.”
The lure of playing at regular centre also worked in Barrow’s favour.
Hulme says he has good pace and is hoping to add some quality to the outside backs.
Looking ahead to Barrow’s promotion bid, he added: “That’s definitely the plan, especially with the quality signings the club have been making.
“There is no reason why we cannot have a good off season and go into the season all guns blazing. It is going to be a tough test with Toronto in there but it’s on the day. They can sign the best players in the world but on that day if they are not at it, it is anyone’s ball game.”
Hulme works for St Helens council as a sports coach after completing degree in Sports Science at Edge Hill University.
As a youngster Hulme played for Burtonwood Bulldogs, in Warrington, and then St Helens-based club Bold Miners before he was picked up by Widnes as a 16-year-old.
Gaffney said: “Declan comes in with Super League and Championship experience and will be an ideal replacement for the departing Hankinson.
“He has got pace and footwork, is a natural try-scorer and excellent defender, and will be a welcome addition to our squad.
“I would like to thank Ian Blease, of Signature Sports Management, for all his help in signing Declan.”
As well as the trio of new faces, Barrow will also see full-back Ryan Fieldhouse along with former Walney Central packmen Danny Morrow, Matty Holmes and Matty While ready to battle it out for the Raiders in their 2017 campaign.