Christmas Cross-City Clash in York!

A big crowd is expected on Tuesday 27 December for what, it is hoped, will be the first of many East v West Origin Games involving players from amateur teams in the York area.

The match is being played for the Jackie & Stuart Evans Trophy, in homage to the former referee, who passed away recently, and his wife.

Stuart Evans, who worked tirelessly for Rugby League at all levels in the city, was York City Knights’ eminent historian, a member of the BARLA Board of Managment, and a stalwart of both the York Referees’ Society and the York & District League.

East, who are coached by Heworth’s George Elliott, will select from players at Heworth, New Earswick All Blacks and Selby Warriors. Leigh Rientoul of York Acorn is in charge of West, and will pick his squad from lads at Acorn and York Lokos.

Admission for the game, which kicks off at 1.30pm, is £5 (£2 concessions) with proceeds being split between the charity Kidney Research, and the five amateur clubs.

The fixture will be refereed by Super League whistler Ben Thaler and, through the initiative of Phil Lawley, match officials will wear `retro’ 1970s kit: black shirts and shorts, with white collars and cuffs.

Chief guests are expected to include Ikram Butt, with others poised to confirm, while £1,500 has already been raised in sponsorships.

All the players have, League Express understands, paid £25 to buy their shirts.

BARLA President Spen Allison – another towering figure in the area – said: “Stuart Evans did so much for Rugby League, especially in his home city, and we think this is a fitting tribute.

“He gave to the game right up to the end, in fact only a few weeks before his death he refereed two junior fixtures and an Open Age match on the same day.”