Castleford Tigers’ Liam Watts planning for future at Number Twenty Bar and Grill

The past four months have given Liam Watts a window into what life will be like without rugby league but the Castleford Tigers star is more than ready for when that time does comes around.

Future plans: The coronavirus pandemic forced Castleford Tigers player Liam Watts to think about what a future away from rugby league might look like. (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com)

The 30-year-old, along with fellow rugby league player Danny Addy, has taken over Number Twenty Bar and Grill in the centre of Castleford.

The pair will officially become directors of the company in November but the bar opened its doors for the first time under the new ownership on Sunday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Watts is already preparing for life without rugby, having recently established W8tts Properties, an online estate agent which is part of the Easy Property chain.

Business partner - Hull KR's Danny Addy. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Having already created businesses outside of rugby league, Watts feels he has the security he needs to be able to walk away from the sport when the time is right.

“I am 30 now and I have probably got a few more years left in the tank but I don’t want to be getting to 31 or 32 and then starting to panic and holding out for one-year deals,” said Watts, who will miss Castleford’s return to Super League action against Catalans Dragons on Saturday afternoon due to injury.

“If I am feeling good and feeling fit and well then I will carry on playing but I don’t want to get to a point where I feel like I am pulling the shirt on for the sake of it and not the passion for it.

“I would rather get myself set up now that if I do decide to hang my boots up then I have got something in place that will take care of me and my family.”

Castleford's Liam Watts (Picture: Chris Mangnall/SWPix.com)

Watts and Addy have big plans for the Number Twenty site, with it currently running as just a bar while the kitchen undergoes renovation.

The pair were due to take over the business in April but the coronavirus outbreak put those plans on hold.

The site has four floors while an outside area with decking has also been built.

Watts hopes to serve food, alcohol and provide a private function room, to go along with the beer garden.

“At the minute we are running it as a gin and bottle bar. We have got no draught beers on at the moment,” added prop forward Watts.

“We have got big plans for a gin and prosecco bar underneath in the cellar.

“It is over four floors, so we will keep it as a restaurant in the middle. We are planning to get a pizza oven and things like that.

“The floor above we will have as a private function room and then the floor above that is an attic and we are hoping to get something done with that in the coming months, to make that into a little VIP booth.”

He continued: “We opened officially on Sunday. The kitchen is under renovation, we decided to get new stuff in for the kitchen but the bar is fully functioning.

“We have done a decking area outside, so we have a beer garden. It looks well. We hope to have the kitchen open by the middle of next month.”

“We hope to have the kitchen open by the middle of next month.”

Initially, it will be open from Thursday to Sunday, selling coffee and cakes from 10am to 2pm between Thursday and Saturday before the bar opens at 2pm until 10pm.

On Sunday the opening hours will be 12pm to 8pm.

With the bar opening while social distancing measures are still in place, Watts and Addy have had to take a number of precautions.

Watts said: “We have had it all self-assessed and made sure there is enough space between the tables we have got but it is only a small place.

“It is why we made the outside area, we can have plenty of people outside.

“We have got five and six-seater tables, so we can host quite a few outside. Upstairs we can have around 20 to 30 people but downstairs we are restricted to 16. We have been sure to put the social distancing measures in place.

“We had Polar Hygiene come out, who are a sponsor of Castleford, and they put hand dispensers in and did a great job for us to make sure we are in a good position to look after everybody.”

The precautions will allow Watts and Addy to ensure the safety of their customers while his own forward thinking should allow him to ease into life after he pulls on a rugby shirt for the final time.

In the more immediate term, Watts is hoping not to miss too much time on the resumption of Super League.

Watts required stitches for a surface wound brought about when he accidentally cut his arm with a saw while cutting wood.

Because he required stitches, it is unlikely he will play any part on Saturday when the Tigers return to action for the first time in four months against Catalans Dragons. Castleford are scheduled to play Hull FC the following week and Watts hopes to have recovered in time to face his former club.

“It was just an accident but there is nothing I can do about it,” he said.

“It is frustrating, I have waited all this time to get back playing and then I have done this. I am hoping to be fully fit for Hull, I just need to keep an eye on it and make sure there is no infection and hope it heals well. Just as long as I keep it clean and look after it, it should be alright.”

Jesse Sene-Lefao and Daniel Smith could also miss out on Saturday after picking up slight knocks in training while Junior Moors is recovering from a series of operations.

Sosaia Feki is unlikely to make his Tigers debut this weekend with coach Daryl Powell set to stick with James Clare and Derrell Olpherts as his wing pairing.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

Editor