THATTO Heath Crusaders second-rower Connor Dwyer has signed for Widnes Vikings.

The 26-year-old joins Tim Sheens' Betfred Championship squad on a one-year deal.

Dwyer worked his way through the St Helens academy before spending time on-loan with Barrow Raiders and Rochdale Hornets during the 2014 season.

He then made the move to Swinton Lions where he featured 61 times and scored 16 tries between 2015 and 2017, before stepping down to the amateur game due to work commitments.

While at Thatto Heath, Dwyer gained representative honours as part of the England Community Lions side that toured New Zealand in October.

He scored in a 30-18 victory over the New Zealand North Island Select, and also crossed in the 28-12 defeat to the NZ Residents XIII.

Meanwhile, clubs taking part in the BARLA National Cup in 2020 could be in action as early as January 4, 2020.

Thatto Heath Crusaders A won the open-age final this year against West Hull and are expected to be in the mix to defend their title.

The closing date for entry is Friday, December 20, with the preliminary round to take place on January 4.

Subsequent Saturday rounds will follow on January 18, February 15 and February 29 leading to the semi finals on March 28, while the final is scheduled for Sunday, April 19.

Entry forms can be downloaded from the BARLA website.

BARLA vice chairman Steve Manning said: “BARLA are pleased to announce the dates for the 2020 BARLA National Cup which has been agreed with the RFL to avoid early round date clashes with the Coral Challenge Cup, which occurred last year.

"BARLA hope this will encourage more sides to enter the competition this year from all playing leagues in the country.

“We had a great final last year when Thatto Heath Crusaders A team defeated Kingstone Press Cider National Conference Premier League side West Hull, who later that year defeated Thatto Heath Crusaders in that league's grand final to be crowned its Premier League Champions.

“BARLA are once again looking to play the final on the Sunday so as not to disrupt the open-age playing leagues that play their games on the Saturday.

"We hope this will see the competing finalists' supporters attend the final in great numbers as well as neutral supporters of the amateur game to create a great atmosphere.

"BARLA will announce the venue of the final at a later date in 2020.

“We hope all amateur clubs will buy into the competition which is free for all BARLA member clubs and £15 for non members and a great way to start the year.”

The BARLA Youth and Junior National Cup competitions open to ages under 14s, 16s and 18s will also start in January, before reaching a triple header finals day on Saturday, July 11, at a venue to be announced later.

Closing date for entry is Friday, December 27, 2019.

Block entry forms can be downloaded from the BARLA website.

“The cups are played at under 14s, 16s and 18s to determine the best youth teams in the country at their respective age groups and we hope that all youth and junior clubs buy into the competition determined to win it," said Manning.

“The finals will once again be a triple header event at a venue to be announced early next year and played once again on the Saturday so as not to disrupt the playing leagues that play their games on the Sunday.

"We have done it this way previously and it has been a great day for all those involved and neutral supporters who are followers of youth and junior rugby league which is the future of the game at all levels.”