TALENTED Josh Bainbridge hopes his 50th appearance for Yorkshire Carnegie will be the first of many milestones with the club.
The openside flanker lines up against the Dragons Premiership Select side in today’s British & Irish Cup tie near Caerphilly in Glamorgan.
It has taken Bainbridge a while to rack up his half-ton, this being his fourth season having debuted as an 18-year-old against Doncaster in 2014.
“I’ve had my ups and downs along the way,” said the ex-England Under-20s international.
“There’s been some injuries and things but just to get to 50 itself is a pretty good achievement.
“It is my first milestone reached with Carnegie and hopefully there’ll be plenty more to come here.”
Fans will certainly hope that rings true as plenty of Bainbridge’s peers, like Jack Walker, Paul Hill and Lewis Boyce, have instead left to make the move up to the Premiership.
The high regard that is held for Bainbridge was shown when head coach James Lowes made the 21-year-old his captain for last week’s 43-22 B&I Cup win against Dragons Premiership Select at Huddersfield YMCA.
“It was a bit overwhelming when I was first asked as there was a lot more older and experienced players than me,” said the Middlesbrough-born flanker.
“But, at the same time, I did really enjoy it and we got the win, too, which made it all the more enjoyable.
“I’d never led a side at senior level before. I was captain at Prince Henry’s (Grammar School, Otley) from Under 16s to Under 18s and Academy but not this. I’m looking forward to doing it again Saturday and hopefully we’ll get the same result.
“It’ll be a bit of a different challenge; last week we had a 30 minute trip to Huddersfield to play them but this time we’ve got a five-hour journey to Wales on the morning.
“But we’ve prepped well, reviewed what happened last week – they pulled us around a bit in the back three with their kicking – and hopefully that will be rectified ready to go again.”
Lowes has named a youthful squad once again for the game at CCBC Centre For Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach with an average age of just 22 and 10 players included who, like Bainbridge, have graduated from the club’s academy.
Tom Casson replaces centre Chris Elder, who scored a hat-trick last week, and 21-year-old Leeds Beckett student Michael Waters replacing his university team-mate Harry Robinson on the wing. Ex-Sheffield RUFC scrum-half Sam Wolstenholme makes his first start for the club having appeared twice as a replacement in the B&I Cup so far this season.
Up front, Jordan Poole is at hooker after coming off the bench last week whilst Elliot Ward starts in the back-row along with Trystan Davies, the former Llanelli forward who made his debut last week as a replacement.
On the bench, former Newcastle Falcons academy back-row Jonny Teague is set to make his debut.