League stars come out

The Pennine Amateur Rugby League held its annual presentation evening at the Cedar Court, Bradford, last Friday at which just over 250 attended, writes Dave Parker.

The league is now the largest in the Brtish game and has remained playing its fixtures in winter under the BARLA umbrella while the majority of leagues and all junior sections have gone with the RFL’s community spring and summer programme.

The league is exceptionally well run and has new clubs wanting to come on board for next season.

Popular president Stuart Brown and his wife Carol of Pennine Trophies Ltd, Heckmondwike, presided with efficient secretary-treaurer Sue Taylor and her husband John running the huge presentation ceremony like clockwork.

Retiring PRO Jamie Hobbs from the Sharlston club, who also works on the Sky Sports News website in Leeds, took all the photos.

The Sportsman of the Year award, presented by chairman David Ingham, went to Whitehall Warriors’ veteran player, committee man and PRO David `Bomber’ Beaumont. With the rapturous applause for the 56-year-old it was certainly a popular choice. The Lightcliffe resident and Calderdale plumber was joined by his wife Eileen and a party of Whitehall players and their partners.

I was delighted to see 85-year-old John Maguire Snr collect the Chairman’s award.

John was the Irish under 14 schoolboy boxing champion and at under 17 he was a senior boxing champion before he came to this country and settled in Halifax. His son, John Jnr, I have known for over 30 years and he played professionally for me at the now defunct Mansfield Marksman RL club back in the mid-late eighties. He is still, with dad, a kingpin in the running of the Halifax Irish Amateur RL Club.

It was quite a nostalgic night as a former Highlands (North Halifax HS) schoolmate Doug Booth, vice president and referees’ appointments secretary, was on my table. Doug presented Halifax-born Darren Gillespie with the Refereee of the Year award although the long distance lorry driver is now based in Worksop in north Nottinghamshire.

They certainly know how to keep their women folk sweet for letting the menfolk out to meetings twice a month and matches on a Saturday and there were posies for them presented by the chairman. I was delighted for my long suffering wife Elizabeth as she also collected one and is on the right of the picture.