Tommy Martyn to be involved in coaching set-up for St Helens reserves in 2020

Tommy Martyn
Tommy Martyn

Saints have been pushing for the return of a reserve grade competition for a number of years and it will come into fruition once more next season.

Eleven English outfits approved a proposal for all Super League clubs, and those with category one funded academies outside the top tier (Widnes Vikings and Bradford Bulls), to have a mandated reserve team.

It now means that the Academy becomes an U18s competition for 2020, rather than U19s, and a number of Saints' scholars have moved up to the U18s side ahead of next season.

Saints Reserves for 2020 will be coached by first team assistant coach Ian Talbot with former Knowsley Road star Tommy Martyn assisting him.


Paul Cross: Will be joining the reserves in both a playing and coaching capacity. He will join the staff as one of the assistant coaches, but also be available to play alongside our up and coming talent.

Paul, 33, hailing from Blackbrook, played for Saints Academy before making a career for himself at clubs, including Widnes, Doncaster, Swinton, Rochdale, Whitehaven and most recently Oldham where he was a major part of last seasons promotion winning team.

Alex Eckley: Signed from Pilkington Recs as a prop forward at the age of 14. After touring Australia with the Academy, he signed a two-year contract and in his first year helped the Academy to a Grand Final win.

From there he had another two seasons in the Academy before moving on and signing for North Wales Crusaders and representing England Universities, winning the Student Four Nations while playing for Liverpool John Moores.

After the season finished with Crusaders, Alex was offered the opportunity to return to the Saints and he jumped at the chance.

Ben Davies: Ben is from Widnes. He played his community rugby for Halton Farnworth Hornets before switching to Widnes Moorfield. From there, he signed a scholarship deal at Widnes Vikings, playing in their Academy and making his first team debut in 2019.

He also represented Lancashire in the Academy origin programme and was part of the England U18s Academy squad.

Mike Weldon: Played played for Blackbrook, winning national and regional titles before joining the Saints Scholarship programme and progressing through the Academy system enjoying a Grand Final win and unbeaten season in his second year.

He went on to captain the team in the final year and after a year out the game he signed for Sheffield Eagles debuting in the summer bash against Barrow before moving to Rochdale Hornets the following season. He has since returned to the Saints ahead of the Reserve campaign in 2020.

Sam Royle: A second row from Thatto Heath who he played for from the age of 11. He signed for Saints Scholarship shortly after and progressed through the pathway. He won the Scholarship Player of the Year award in just his second season before moving up to the U19s.

He played at Academy level for three straight years and also represented Lancashire on three occasions against Yorkshire and the Aussie Schoolboys. Sam captained the side in 2019 all the way to the Grand Final and his impressive form was rewarded as he picked up the Saints U19s Player of the Year award at the club’s annual awards dinner. He will take his place in the reserves in 2020 as he continues his progression whilst studying at University.

Paul Nash: A hooker and played rugby at Clock Face Miners for a year before moving to Blackbrook Royals where he played eight years. When in the U15s, he signed for Saints Scholarship and in that same year he represented England Youth against Wales.

A year later he played for England again against France before signing for the Academy in 2017 and was another Academy product who was part of the team that made the Grand Final in 2019.

Kye Siyani: Kye is another product of the U19s and is a prop who played at Blackbrook all the way through to U16s. At U15s he signed a scholarship deal with Saints for two years before signing for the Academy.

Kye helped the Saints reach the semi-final in his first year and went one better playing a big part in their road to the Grand Final in 2019. He will now continue with the club in the reserve programme.

Owain Abel: Signed for Saints part way through the 2019 season after impressing for his club, Pilkington Recs.

He was another who became an integral part of the U19’s team who reached the Grand Final. Owain has also represented his country, playing for the England Lion Hearts team that toured Jamaica.

A number of first teamers who don't make the Super League match day squad will also play for the reserves in 2020.