BLAYDON winger David Sheldon has completed a cross-code switch after signing for Gateshead Thunder.
The giant 22-year-old, who stands at 6ft 8in, will move to rugby league for the start of the 2013 Championship One season, joining an influx which includes former Hull Kingston Rovers wing Nick Johnson and another rugby union convert in Devon’s Dominic Heap.
Sheldon said: “I have been a Blaydon player all my life, so deciding to leave them has been a tough decision.
“I spoke to the club and they offered their blessing to go and give it a try. I am very grateful for everything I have gained from being at Blaydon, and they were a huge part of my life for so long.”
Gateshead Thunder head coach Kevin Neighbour said: “David is an honest person who really had to dig deep to leave Blaydon, which I think has been a brave move.
“He is a natural sportsman, and has the opportunity to really make a name for himself at the club. We are considering him for the forwards as his size would lend itself to it, but he has bags of pace and size so we will have to look at what is best.”
Blaydon are riding high at third in the SSE National One table, and play host to Sedgeley Park tomorrow with a shortage of scrum-halves following Andy Davies’ double leg dislocation and Hall Charlton being stranded in New York.
Tynedale host Loughborough Students as they search for a first win in five games, while in National Two North Westoe host Stockport looking to haul themselves out of the relegation zone after two wins on the spin.
Centre James Clark returns from an ankle injury, with director of rugby Andy Howells keen for his side to tighten up their defence.
Howells said: “We played OK last week at Huddersfield and got the result, but we are still shipping points even when we are dominant up front. We have momentum behind us now and things are improving, but improving our defence is a big focus on Saturday.”
In university rugby Durham are three points clear at the top of BUCS Premier North after a 10-6 win at Loughborough, while Northumbria’s 48-10 triumph over Leeds pulled them off the bottom of the table.