Hilltop Products has started supporting the Tommy Sale MBE Youth Development Programme, a young player pathway created by the Leigh Centurions.

Designed to incubate the best young talent and keep players in Leigh, the scheme will work alongside a local college and community rugby clubs to create a route from junior age rugby league to full time Centurions players.

The club will start by establishing a Category 3 Academy to nurture young talent and a Reserve Grade team to give second-tier players more competitive action.

Hilltop Products' Steven Davies and Rebecca Davies with the Leigh Centurions

Hilltop Products' Steven Davies and Rebecca Davies with the Leigh Centurions

Launching the initiative, Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “The sole purpose from my point of view, and that of the board is to be able to attract the best local juniors and offer them not just the sole aims of a rugby club, but to also improve them as people and ensure they pay attention from day one in preparation for life after rugby or indeed failing to make it at the elite level.

The Tommy Sale MBE Youth Development Programme is a supporter-led community fund, in which individuals and businesses can contribute to youth development at the club.

All money is ringfenced for the youth development team and can only be accessed by directors from the Tommy Sale programme, which is financially independent of Leigh Centurions.

Individuals and businesses that are interested in contributing to the initiative should contact members@tommysaleyouth.co.uk.

Remembering Tommy Sale

Tommy Sale was a club stalwart at Leigh Centurions for more than 80 years. He died in 2016 at the age of 97.

He made his First Grade debut for the club as a 20-year-old and helped rebuild their Hilton Park stadium. After he retired he served as a coach, kit-man and time-keeper.

One of his most significant contributions was signing player-coach Alex Murphy who won the Challenge Cup with the club in 1971.

He was awarded an MBE in 2011 and has a stand at Leigh Sports Village named in his honour.