The Craig Hopson Memorial Trophy Match will be held at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday, acting as the perfect curtain raiser for Castleford Tigers' First Utility Super League clash with Hull KR.
A Craig Hopson Select side will take on a Royal Artillery side for the annual Hopson Trophy looking for their first victory.
The match kicks off 12:45pm and turnstiles open at 12:30pm. Anyone wishing to attend the match must buy their Castleford Tigers v Hull KR ticket from the club shop in Carlton Lanes in advance or from the ticket office at The MAH Jungle from 12:30pm (prices increase by £2 on game day).
Craig, a local Castleford lad, was born 11th March 1985 and attended Castleford High School before deciding he wanted a career in the Army.
He joined the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners) on 28 August 2002 after completion of his basic training at Pirbright and phase 2 training at Larkhill, Wiltshire. Craig completed operational tours in Iraq and Cyprus as well the current tour he was on Afghanistan.
Craig was a larger than life character who had a no fear attitude and a real love for the job he did, which led him to becoming a Bombardier. He had a passion for everything he did, another big passion of Craig's from being a young age was Rugby League. Starting as a young lad playing for local teams such as Half Acres and Pointer/Panther Juniors, Craig went on to play a lot of rugby with his regiment and the army in which he enjoyed a tour of Australia. At this time whenever Craig was home on leave he would also enjoy turning out with his friends for Cutsyke Raiders. Craig was a keen fan of the Castleford Tigers and would always keep up with their results no matter where he was in the world.
Craig's main love was his family, close to his mother Lynn and sister Adele, Craig was also engaged to Eleanor and had just became a proud father of Amelia.
On July 25th 2009, devastating news was received that Craig has lost is life in action after recently returning back to Afghanistan for the second part of the tour after enjoying R&R Leave. The Jackal vehicle in which he was travelling struck an improvised explosive device while taking part in Operation PANCHAI PALANG.
Craig was part of a patrol in the Babaji area of Helmand province, tasked to recce a suitable area for a polling station in the forthcoming Afghan presidential elections.
The news left Craig's family and friends devastated and his loss was felt massively by the whole of the Castleford community.
In 2010 it was thought that it would be a fitting tribute for a Castleford & District Select RL Team now named "Craig Hopson Select RL" made up of Craig's friends and ex-team mates to take on Craig's regiment the Royal Artillery in Craig's memory. It was never thought that the event would see such a great turn out and raise so much money for the ABF Soldiers Charity. Since then the game has been played every year since with the winner taking ‘The Hopson Trophy'. 2011 saw the game was played at the Twickenham Stoop as curtain raiser for Harlequins v Castleford Tigers which the Royal Artillery stole victory with a last minute penalty conversion, whilst another close game was seen at RUFC last year.
A website selling merchandise and replica kits has also been set up in Craig's memory with any profits being donated to the ABF Soldiers Charity. www.craighopsonrl.co.uk
You can also keep up to date with events on the Craig Hopson Memorial Rugby League Facebook page.
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