Former Gosport & Fareham mini/youth player Joe Batley who plays for Bristol RFC has been diagnosed with cancer and will undergo a course of chemotherapy over the next three to six months writes Brian Seeney.

The former England Under 20 international has Hodgkin lymphoma after doctors discovered a tumour.

A statement from Bristol on their club website said Joe is hoping to be fit during the 2018-19 season.

"Joe's a hugely respected member of the group. His bravery and determination at this early stage underlines his immense character," the club statement said.

"Players and staff were briefed on Thursday and the news has come as a shock to everybody involved with the club. We will ensure that Joe receives the best care and support to aid treatment.

"The club's sole concern is Joe's health and the privacy of him and his family.

"Any further updates on his progress will come via Bristol Rugby’s official channels and following his personal approval. The club will be making no further comment at this time."

On his @banterwithbats Twitter page, Joe (21) tweeted: "[This is] a challenging set back however I'm lucky to be surrounded by such supportive and loving friends and family, and will come back stronger."

According to the NHS website Hodgkin lymphoma is a "relatively aggressive cancer" but "one of the most easily treated types of cancer".

Batley Bristol photoWEB

Joe Batley (left) playing for Bristol. Photo courtesy JMPUK

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