TWO young rugby stars from the district have received national recognition. 

Maisie James and Holly Thorpe were named as part of the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) talent development group.

They were among 33 of the country’s top U18 players selected for a training camp at Nuneaton in Warwickshire, which took place last week.

Year 12 pupils Maisie and Holly have both been associated with Tynedale Panthers since childhood. 
Maisie, who is from Wylam, and attends Prudhoe High School, is still a Panthers player.

Hexham girl Holly joined Loughborough College in Leicestershire earlier this year, and now plays for Loughborough Lightning. 

Tynedale Panthers’ coach Nick Oliver said: “We’re thrilled for both Maisie and Holly. They are very talented players who have come through Tynedale from U7s and we hope one day to see them playing together in a senior England shirt.”

The development group forms a key part of the England women’s performance pathway programme.
An RFU spokesman said: “It’s an intensive training camp where players are assessed not only on their on-field performance but also on leadership, organisation and problem solving skills and ability.” 

A third girl from Northumberland, Orla McCallion, who now also represents Loughborough Lightning, was also part of the development group squad.  

Ex-Panther Caity Mattinson is already a member of the England women’s senior team.

Gemma Bell, of the Panthers, is part of the Scotland U16 set-up, while Maisie, Daisy Oliver, Hannah Carter, and former Panther Beyonce Fowler attend Darlington Mowden Park’s Centre for Excellence.