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Former Wharfedale ace Doherty joins Leeds Carnegie
Former Wharfedale player James Doherty has been signed by Leeds Carnegie.
Leeds have kicked off their recruitment campaign for the 2012-13 Championship season with the capture of four players on two-year contracts from Championship finalists Cornish Pirates - James Doherty and former Leeds Carnegie Academy products David Doherty and Matt Smith, plus Mike Myerscough.
Scrum half James Doherty, who attended the University of Leeds, was in the starting line-up for all but one of the 96 league appearances he made for the Dalesmen - a remarkable achievement at such a young age.
The 24-year-old has also represented Lancashire and England Counties and has played at the Pirates for the past two seasons.
David Doherty, 25, was the youngest player to make his debut in the Premiership when he emerged from the Leeds Carnegie Academy ranks in 2004.
Since then he has had spells at London Wasps, Sale, Jersey and the Pirates, for whom he scored 14 tries in 24 games this season to add to the 18 he scored the year before at Jersey.
Second-row Matt Smith, 22, is from Royston, near Barnsley, and played for Sandal in his formative years while attending Silcoates School.
From here he was spotted by the Leeds Carnegie Academy and spent two years there before moving to the University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC).
He represented them in three finals at Twickenham, as well as being selected for England Students before joining the Pirates.
Cornishman Myerscough first emerged from the Bath Academy before a spell at Cornish All Blacks brought him to the attention of the Pirates.
The 25-year-old second row is originally from Bude and has played for England up to under-18 level.
His time at the Pirates has been a frustrating one due to injuries.
However, this season he put those setbacks behind him and made 16 appearances so far for the Championship finalists, including an impressive showing off the bench in the first leg defeat to London Welsh in the Championship final.
Leeds Carnegie’s head coach Diccon Edwards said: “We are delighted to be able to secure four players of the calibre of these guys for next season.
“We have always maintained that our Academy is at the heart of our club, so to bring three players back home to play for Leeds Carnegie is a real boost to our squad.
“David Doherty is one of the most exciting players in the Championship, as Leeds fans got to see in our final game of the season as he set up a spectacular try in the second half, while James Doherty will give us great competition for the No 9 shirt alongside Craig Hampson.
“In the forwards, Matt Smith is a player that we were disappointed to lose from our Academy at the time and someone who is passionate about Leeds Carnegie being successful next season.
“Mike Myerscough has a tremendous pedigree, having learnt his trade at Bath, and will be a great addition to our forward pack.
“All four have been part of a successful team this season with the Pirates and had the chance to say goodbye to their fans at the Pirates in the first-leg of their Championship final against London Welsh.”