Worcester’s Joe Batley aiming to overcome adversity again after beating cancer

Joe Batley in action for Worcester (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Wire)
Joe Batley in action for Worcester (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Wire)

Worcester’s Joe Batley has already triumphed over adversity once in his life – and he remains committed to winning another major fight.

The second-row forward, like his Warriors colleagues, is anxiously awaiting developments after Worcester were suspended from all competitions and placed in administration.

The Worcester players do not know when, or if, they will be back in action as their place among English rugby’s Gallagher Premiership elite hangs by a thread.

Four years ago, at the age of 21, Batley was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

But he made a successful recovery and was able to continue with his ambitions of playing professional rugby, joining Worcester in 2020.

“When I had cancer it was very much all about me, so I could kind of process that differently,” Batley told the PA news agency.

“But now it is a lot different because it (Worcester’s situation) is affecting multiple people.

“There are highs and lows in anything you do in life. Rugby is all I have ever wanted to do.”

Worcester’s season is on hold after a Rugby Football Union deadline to provide proof of insurance cover and funding for the club’s monthly payroll was not met.

The Warriors have debts of more than £25million, including a £6m tax bill that saw them hit with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue and Customs.

Players, coaches, staff and supporters, meanwhile, had little or no communication from the club owners, exacerbating an already tense situation.

“We have been so long in the dark and hearing about scary outcomes that we can’t wait to put an end to all this, one way or the other,” Batley added.

“The guys just want an answer either way. We have been in limbo.

“I have got a young family, so it is tough to think about what’s best for all of us when there are no real options there in terms of we don’t know what’s what.

“My partner doesn’t work at the moment. She stopped working when she had our one-year-old. It’s hard to know what to do next when you don’t know what the outcome is going to be.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

“We are very settled here, we bought our first house and had our first child in Worcester. We see it as home. It would be a shame for it to end this way.

“It will be interesting when we go one month, two months without pay – we are not like footballers where we are rolling in cash. A lot of us are living month to month.

“The Premiership can’t wait for us to get our act together for too long, so we know there are time constraints.

“Some lads have taken the opportunity to go and see family and train back home, so I think at this moment whatever is going to keep you mentally fresh, the guys are taking advantage of.

“The uncertainty is what is killing us, but at the same time, everyone is sticking together.

“The fairytale would be amazing for us to stick together, but at the same time a lot of boys live month to month, and if income stops, then the pressure really comes on.

“All we want to do is be back on the pitch playing in front of the fans. It is out of our control, so the quicker everything gets sorted, the better.”