Son selfie makes win extra special for Castleford Tigers' James Clare

Castleford Tigers winger James Clare is a lifelong fan of the club and his baby son Arthur James Clare is already following the family tradition.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 5:00 pm
James Clare on the charge agianst Hull last season. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Arthur - “AJ to his friends” - is just four weeks old and saw his dad in action for the first time last Friday when Tigers stunned Wigan Warriors 16-12 at the Jungle.

It was Clare senior’s first appearance of the season and he celebrated by taking his son on a lap of honour on the pitch after the final hooter, turning a memorable occasion for him into an unforgettable one.

He said: “It was nice to have him at the game. Kimberley, my wife, brought him down and I managed to get a picture with him on the field at the end and take him round. That was a really special moment.”

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Derrell Olpherts, third Tigers player from left, celebrates his try against Wigan. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Clare was called into Tigers’ starting lineup after Greg Eden withdrew due to injury and Peter Mata’utia was ruled out by a two-match suspension.

“Any time I pull on a Castleford Tigers jersey, for me being a hometown lad it is always a special moment,” Clare said.

“It is always tough to play against Wigan because they are such a good team.

“First game of the year, it is a tough one, but we hung in there.

“I thought both teams were absolutely outstanding, but we just managed to hang in there towards the end.”

Tigers were without five of the team which beat Toronto Wolfpack five days earlier in Betfred Super League round one and at least eight who would probably be in a fully-fit lineup.

Clare said: “It’s not your one to 13 or one to 17 that wins you a Grand Final, it’s one to 25, 28 or 32 which we had on the field [on Friday].

“We have got that much youth coming through at Castleford Tigers, if a few senior players are injured or banned we are confident someone’s going to step in and do a good job.”

Wigan were also without some key players. Clare added: “Their youngsters have stepped up over the last couple of years and they are becoming incredible players.

“Hopefully our young players can be doing the same in a couple of years’ time.”

Sam Hall made his debut, aged 17 and it was 18-year-old Lewis Peachey’s second Super League game.

“They were absolutely outstanding,” Clare enthused. “Every minute they get makes them a little bit less nervous next time.

“They are all outstandingly good players in training, they’ve just got to take what they do on to the field each week.”

Clare was singled out for praise by coach Daryl Powell after the game, despite no clear try scoring chances.

“Over the years Cas Tigers have been a left-side dominant team and is always nice to be on the left, but we were right-side dominant [against Wigan], Clare noted.

“It is just one of those things, you have to do the tough stuff in yardage and hopefully it comes in other games.”

Clare scored 16 tries in 30 matches last year, but dropped down the squad order from number two to 21 after Sosaia Feki and Derrell Olpherts were signed in the off-season.

With Feki injured, Eden got the nod ahead of him in round one, but Clare insisted: “It is a tough challenge, last year there weren’t as many outside-backs as we need to strive for competition.

“It is one of those things, signing an NRL winger in Sosaia Feki and someone who was in and around a Grand Final team in Derrell Olpherts is only going to make me a better player. I am thankful for the competition and I’ll keep striving to be in the team as long as I can.”