David Clegg Introduces Our Recent Acquisition for 2017, Centre, Kris Welham
It is every player’s dream to play at Wembley, but out of all those who are sufficiently talented to join the professional ranks, it is a very small percentage, who actually do manage to achieve their ambition to do so. It is therefore, with some pride that, in centre, Kris Welham, we at Salford can boast a player who played there as recently as 2015.
Despite the obvious disappointment in the eventual outcome, with Leeds running amok against the overwhelmed Hull KR side, Kris has very special memories of what was, nevertheless, the experience of a lifetime.
“It’s something I shall remember for the rest of my life,” he enthuses, “not just the game but the build up throughout the week before, right up to leaving the city, with all the fans cheering us off.”
Of the game itself, he is extremely level headed in respect of the Rovers’ performance and the result.
“Any game can get away from you like that, when the opposition gets the momentum, with the bulk of possession and good field position,” he maintains. “Then, on the occasions we got the ball, we turned it straight back over to Leeds, and it just seemed that they were capable of scoring off any of our errors.
“It was still a fantastic experience though, and I am especially grateful for it, with all my family there sharing in it. I hope I am proved wrong, but the probability is that it will happen only once in my career, though I would love to repeat it all, again.”
Now that he is here at Salford, I am sure it is an experience that we, too, would love him to repeat – in a Salford shirt, and with a different result!
For someone who has made such a significant impression on the game, Kris was remarkably late in taking it up, having preferred football in his younger days, and it was only when, at the age of fifteen, he was asked by a teacher to fill in for the school team on one occasion when they were short of players, that he managed to avoid slipping through the net completely.
When you consider the advanced level of development the average player has reached, by the U16s, it is remarkable that he had even the remotest idea as to what was happening throughout that first game, but as a good all round athlete, he was able to use his knowledge of a variety of sports to help him get through it.
The physicality of the game, though, took him completely by surprise, and it probably helped with his playing centre, where there was some respite from the hurly-burly of the middle, and he was able to exploit his pace by running to the spaces whenever he caught the ball.
It was not long before his love for the game had grown to the extent that it took over from football as his number one sport, and in the end he focused on that completely.
“I grew to realise it was more exciting than football, as there is always something going on, much more so than in soccer,” he explains. “I have never had any regrets at making the change over.”
Twelve months after that initial induction into the game, Kris joined his local amateur club, Myton Warriors, where his progress flourished and he learned a considerable amount about the game, to the extent that two years later he was invited to join Hull FC’s Academy. As part of his development over that two year period he had become a regular spectator at their Super League fixtures, and so to turn up and be among the ranks of these same professional players, was quite overwhelming for him.
Unlike the majority of the residents in and around Kingston Upon Hull, he had no affinity with either of the Hull sides as his home, in Orchard Park, was so far out to the north of the city that he lived on neither side of the river which divides the city, and gives it its abbreviated name. This proved to be beneficial, and made life simple, when, after only a season, he was transferred across the Hull, to join the Rovers.
The Story Of Kris’s Career Continues Tomorrow