Wigan Warriors: Iain Thornley discusses the story behind his water running duties for Ashton Bears

Wigan Warriors’ Iain Thornley says he’s enjoying helping out at the club where it all started for him.

The centre was back at his former amateur side Ashton Bears at the weekend, as he ran water on during their game against Halton Farnworth Hornet.

Thornley says he has a close connection with the club, and his role on Saturday is part of a long-term agreement he has made with them.

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He said: “My brother retired from semi-professional rugby league last year, and it is an agreement that we’ve both made, when we finish, we will play for Ashton. So he’s sticking to his word and has played a few games for them.

Iain Thornley ran on water for Ashton Bears at the weekend

“It was a big match against Halton Hornets at the weekend. It’s only early days but it was a top of the table clash. So they said it’d be nice if I went down and ran the water on for the lads to help them out.

“So I had my little waterboy top on and did the duties, from filling up the bottle before and at half time, and running it on in any stoppages. It was a good afternoon, and they ended up winning.

“It was nice to get involved a bit at my amateur club, where I started playing at nine years of age. My lad plays under sevens as well, so I’m around the place a lot with him when he’s playing at home.

“I’ve got friends there. One is chairman of the club, one is coach of the open age team, one is the welfare officer and my brother-in-law is one of the younger age coaches. All my mates are all coaches there, so it’s nice to get involved like they are.

“All my friends and family there are all Wigan supporters, so I’ll have to make sure I play well when I come back from my injury, otherwise I’ll be getting stick every Sunday.”

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Thornley jokes after performing the role on Saturday, he won’t be going easier on the water runners when he’s playing.

“If anything I’ll be giving them more stick if they don’t get on quicker,” he added.

“It’s only running water on, but it was good to help out where it all started for me. It’s just nice to give back a little bit because it’s difficult with professional rugby because your schedule changes, so it’s hard to say when you’ve got time off.

“It just fitted in that we had the weekend off, so it all slotted into place and good to get it all sorted.”

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Since Saturday, Ashton have shared a photo on Twitter of Thornley in action doing his duties.

“I’ve had a bit of exposure doing this, the chairman took a picture of me filling my bottle up and posted it on Twitter,” he said.

“It gave the club a bit of publicity because Wigan retweeted it, so it’s all good, getting their name out there.

“They’re one of the biggest clubs in the Wigan area, there’s 300-400 kids involved and there’s even a couple of women’s teams, so it’s really on the up, getting bigger and bigger.

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“If I can help in any way, it’s just great for the community and getting their name out there as a club who are promoting rugby.”