Hooker James Newton has returned to the Recreation Ground after agreeing a new three-year deal with Whitehaven.

The 26-year old former Hull FC academy hooker made more than 100 appearances for the club in his first spell from the 2013 season to the end of 2017.

This time last year he joined Workington Town and last season made 27 appearances, scoring two tries.

His decision to return to Whitehaven means he will wear the chocolate, blue and gold until the end of the 2021 season.

He follows Jake Moore in deciding to return after a brief spell with their local League One rivals.

After re-signing for the club, Newton said: “This was a really hard decision for me to make but, after several discussions with the Workington board and the coach Leon Pryce, I felt coming back to Whitehaven would be best for me to play rugby week in, week out with a smile on my face.

“The financial benefits of rugby are great but all I want to do is play every week and give 100 per cent for whatever club that may be.

“At Whitehaven, it will feel like coming back home for me and my family and I want to get Whitehaven back in places they should be after the hard times they went through last season.

“I can’t wait to get stuck into pre-season with Charlo [coach Gary Charlton], Jonty [Gorley] and the boys and I am sure we will have some tough sessions coming our way through the coming weeks, leading into the start of the season.

“I hope the decision to focus on a locally-based team can start bringing the crowds back into the Recreation Ground.”

The ex-Millom amateur signed for Workington on dual registration in 2012 when Charlton was the Town coach and clearly made an impression as the pair have linked up again.

Pre-season for the Whitehaven players begins in less than a fortnight and Newton is the 18th name on the sheet for Charlton, who is hoping for a 24-man squad.

Charlton added: “James was one of our primary targets and we are really pleased to get the deal over the line.

“He adds plenty of toughness and enthusiasm to our team.”

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