Cornwall RLFC have announced the signing of hooker Sam Gilder for the 2022 Betfred League 1 season.
Gilder, 22, was born in the Duchy and raised in the Cornish fishing village of Mevagissey. He cut his formative rugby teeth at local union club St Austell before moving away from the area as a teenager to study at the University of Gloucestershire.
Following the same path as his Cornwall RLFC team mate Henry Symons, the number nine played regularly for his University side in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).
Like Symons, this led to Gilder representing the South West of England which in turn paved the way for further representative honours.
🏉 𝐂𝐎𝐑𝐍𝐖𝐀𝐋𝐋 𝐑𝐋𝐅𝐂 𝐍𝐄𝐄𝐃𝐒 𝐘𝐎𝐔 〓〓
📅 Sunday, January 9 2022
🏟️ Memorial Ground
The club are delighted to reveal the date and venue of their open trial for prospective players.
➡️ For more info: https://t.co/lRoG0sog5o
— Cornwall RLFC (@CornwallRLFC) December 15, 2021
Gilder was part of the South side that faced off against the North in the 2020 Universities Rugby League Origin game. Despite Gilder and his side losing 20-4 in a game played at Loughborough University, he has continued his promising development within the game by signing for Cornwall RLFC.
“It’s amazing and I can’t really believe it,” said Gilder, when asked to describe his feelings after signing. “I am really thankful to Cornwall RLFC for reaching out and giving me the opportunity.
“Everyone knows that as a Cornishman, you want to represent your county. Rugby is such a proud part of our heritage and I have been playing rugby union since I was a kid. I was lucky enough to put on the black and gold jersey when I was playing under-18s.
“But to do it as a professional, in a game that I have grown to love over the past four or five years is absolutely amazing.
“I have fallen in love with Rugby League, I think it is class and the best game in the world.”
With the club’s squad for their maiden league campaign now starting to take shape, and an open player trial taking place this coming Sunday, January 9, Cornwall RLFC general manager Gareth Reid added that Gilder was the perfect fit for professional Rugby League’s newest entity.
✍️ One goal – win @RLWC2021! 🏆
🤝 Paul Anderson is named as Head of England Talent Pathways for England Men.
— England Rugby League (@England_RL) January 5, 2022
“In continuing to fulfil our commitment of signing local Cornish players to the club, I am very pleased to secure Sam Gilder as our latest addition,” Reid remarked.
“Signing Sam to play for Cornwall was an easy decision for us to make. He fits the bill nicely for what we want in local Cornish talent, coming with a solid and developing Rugby League pedigree having previously represented both South West and South England Universities after strong showings for the University of Gloucestershire.
“We have the utmost faith that under Ned Kelly’s guidance, Sam will develop into a well-rounded player that represents Cornwall for years to come.”
The view of Reid was echoed by Cornwall RLFC head coach Neil Kelly, who as a hooker by trade in his playing days, is keen for Gilder to continue his development under the tutelage of the 2002 Super League Coach of the Year.
“Sam is a player that has impressed playing University Rugby League after only taking up the game when his further education began,” said Kelly.
“To have someone local in Cornwall with a Rugby League background, who has potential within the professional game, was something that I was keen to make the most of.
“His signing also reaffirms the club’s ethos of giving Cornish players an opportunity to develop in a game which prior to Cornwall RLFC’s inception, would have passed them by.”