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On 15/08/2021 at 21:35, groundhopper said:

Todmorden 36 Illingworth 10

Surprise result with the visitors going into the game with 9 wins from 9 and the home team about 50/50. 
 

I think this is the first year for Todmorden, although I have a programme from the national cup v Hensingham from 1997. That was played at Castle Vale Park close to the town centre then and early Facebook posts suggested the same but only training was there.

Home now is known as Woodhouse, a basic venue, of the type that makes the travelling worthwhile. Leaving the main road to Sowerby Bridge a mile out of town the road crosses the river by a narrow bridge with a mill converted to housing. Going uphill are the changing rooms and at least a quarter of a mile further there is a small car park serving a fishing lake and the pitch. Once inside no buildings are visible just a steep hillside and woodland. The pitch was roped down each side.

Expecting an away win it was no surprise when the visitors went 6 nil up but it was 12 10 to the hosts at half time who then dominated the second half. 
 

attendance of about 80

Some photos taken on phone and will post if family assist a technophobe

I think that fairly useful prop Neil Cowie ( Wigan ) signed from Todmorden in the day ....... but great to see them back.

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Today I took in Heworth of York.

What a delightful , leafy suburb  in one of the most affluent cities of the North. And their facilities do not let them down. 3 perfectly mowed and barriered pitches , small stand and decent clubhouse with newly extended  changing facilities.. Heworth Cricket club also on site ( well it is Yorkshire ) as well as York Hockey club ( with a golf course across the road )

But the jewel in the crown - pro clubs please take note - is that the facility is owned by the club  and bought for about £6k years ago as little more than a farmers field , legendary club stalwart Kenny Sykes the ex Hunslet forward being instrumental amongst others in Heworth's development from thereon in

What took me there was the NCL play off game between Heworth and the ever mighty Castleford Lock Lane. Superb struggle in an expansive  game that went to a third period ( yes ) of  golden point extra time before the Lane snatched it . Large friendly crowd very appreciative - ref had a good game but yet again lacked help from absent touch judges - RL need to get a grip here - these are top matches.

There is a clear buzz about RL in York these days.

Before that called in at West Bowling who were entertaining Dewsbury Moor also in the NCL play offs.

What a complex they are now party to ! Horsfall stadium , home to Bradford Park Ave is now shared by them. A World Cup grant of £200+ k is securing even more changing rooms and the 4g pitch is being played on 24/7.  3 or 4 grass fields at the back  will revert to rugby shortly. The main stand can fit 1000+ sitting. And yes - this is Yorkshire -  there is a  well used cricket wicket on the site.

But what impresses is the enthusiasm of everyone involved in the club , from the Chair running the line for the pre match academy game against  Hunslet Parkside to the Head coach in his pre match 'zone '.

Don't say this too often as a Red Rose man but Yorkshire was a good day out today.........

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As well as watching amateur games, I like to visit those used at a higher level and managed a trip to North Wales Crusaders last week

However one ground used was not accessible with the only London games at Rosslyn Park behind closed doors. 
 

in any event I wanted to watch the Southern Conference play off final and lo and behold they choose Rosslyn Park as the venue albeit at 6.30pm. 
 

On arrival, I realised I had mucked up as Brixton v Medway was just finishing in the lower league final. There was real enthusiasm on and off the pitch and I feel I missed a treat. 
 

The main event was London Chargers v West Warriors, either a local derby or possibly Australia v New Zealand although Hammersmith are the main Aussie team

 

Rosslyn Park will be happy with the day especially the beer sales and the crowd of300 to 400 were to put in mildly loud. As a club they were one of those whose results were on the BBC when I first watched the results probably 50 years ago. They are still at a reasonable but not top level.The ground apart from a 4g has probably not changed since with Ivy climbing through the covered terracing and bench seats in the Mai  stand leaning at steep angles to match the floor they are attached to

West Warriors were always ahead and would have been more so if they had not missed all five conversions, admittedly mostly from the touch line. A final score of Chargers 10 West’s 20. I had to leave to catch a train at the final whilst leaving but more drinking was certainly on the menu for others.

hopefully some else can advise the scorers but with no prog and no announcements I cannot. For a game claiming poverty, it is surprising no gate was taken as with pitch hire and a full compliment of referees and assistants this not have been cheap to stage

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Duties ( and not withstanding that my  sheer love for the Community Game would have got me here anyway ) took me today to Featherstone's Millennium Stadium for the NCL triple header Finals.

 The best on offer at Tier 4.     What an enjoyable day !

I'm told that Kells set off before 6 am ( their choice on the scheduling   - but with stop-over  more than hearty breakfast included ) .

Wath Brow followed an hour or so later. Coach Rooney as always in command.

Take note - Game preparation has never been confined just  to SL alone !

 At Fev  solid  partisan but  always respectful crowd for the 6 clubs.   2361  paying spectators declared for the day. Our League Internet  cover figures not yet available.

Featherstone no doubt made a fortune over the bar. I know this 'cos I was sat with  more than a few club committee men watching the tills and  the queues.....

As for the games themselves I can't praise the various participants any higher.. All the lads on the park did absolutely everything they could. Respect and congratulations.

But what  do I really take comfort out of  today ? 

Not the NCL - it will  again remain the Beacon for the game where it really counts.

But today Ben Thaler and Liam Moore were in the gallery looking at the refs for the future. Just like the rest of us they are doing their job.... But looking to maybe even next year - get better before any immediate transfer to   pro level...

 For our today games two teenagers officiated from the spot .  And  stood out  really well.

An 18 year old in the last match today but over a full season's  effort was declared NCL ref of the year.  

Long path yet to travel no doubt but  perhaps are we looking at our first BAME senior official ?

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12 hours ago, del capo said:

Duties ( and not withstanding that my  sheer love for the Community Game would have got me here anyway ) took me today to Featherstone's Millennium Stadium for the NCL triple header Finals.

 The best on offer at Tier 4.     What an enjoyable day !

I'm told that Kells set off before 6 am ( their choice on the scheduling   - but with stop-over  more than hearty breakfast included ) .

Wath Brow followed an hour or so later. Coach Rooney as always in command.

Take note - Game preparation has never been confined just  to SL alone !

 At Fev  solid  partisan but  always respectful crowd for the 6 clubs.   2361  paying spectators declared for the day. Our League Internet  cover figures not yet available.

Featherstone no doubt made a fortune over the bar. I know this 'cos I was sat with  more than a few club committee men watching the tills and  the queues.....

As for the games themselves I can't praise the various participants any higher.. All the lads on the park did absolutely everything they could. Respect and congratulations.

But what  do I really take comfort out of  today ? 

Not the NCL - it will  again remain the Beacon for the game where it really counts.

But today Ben Thaler and Liam Moore were in the gallery looking at the refs for the future. Just like the rest of us they are doing their job.... But looking to maybe even next year - get better before any immediate transfer to   pro level...

 For our today games two teenagers officiated from the spot .  And  stood out  really well.

An 18 year old in the last match today but over a full season's  effort was declared NCL ref of the year.  

Long path yet to travel no doubt but  perhaps are we looking at our first BAME senior official ?

Best ref I've seen since Leef was this season, ex pro-player Carl Hughes in his first season needs fast tracking, he took charge of the Moorends v Sheffield Hawks game and his handling of the game contributed to it being a very fast free flowing game.

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Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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Westgate Common 40 Upton 6

Thought my season had finished but this caught the eye. Not just me either with about 250 watching. 
Venue today was Thornes Park, a large public park with a college as a centrepiece and attractive in places to walk. There are two football pitches in a very open area but as 1 was told these are frequently waterlogged and the rugby have developed a pitch higher up but use the same changing rooms. Although plenty of dog and other walkers pass through, there is a feeling of enclosure with threes on three sides. The pitch was roped off, required for a crowd of this size.

Upton seems disorganised in the build up with some players arriving close to kick off and I gained the impression a number has simply not showed up leaving them with a bare 14. Despite this they scored first but not again in the game. 
 

I have concerns how long the Pennine League and therefore winter rugby will last but the Yorkshire cup has 17 entries and I would recommend this to anyone. Hopefully clubs will update social media and some c.ups have entered this but not the league and I think there will be a number of walkovers. A revisit to Toll Bar is my initial thought

 

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Holderness Vikings , Keyingham , Hull .

Over 30s v under 30s . Unveiling of a fantastic bench put in place by the club and parish council as a reminder to Joe Tripp . Joe passed away last year . He helped set up the club many years ago , taking teams from open age down to the very little ones . Always 1st at the club and last away . 

Anyway to match report .

1st tackle clash of heads , two over 30 off the field , blood n snot all over the shop . Both reappeared later in the game . 

Try for try in the 1st 20minute  half . Some good rugby played by both teams . Games like this can sometimes get a little to physical . Credit to ref and teams as they got into the spirit of the day . Big effort in defence and some nice attacking rugby kept the supporters well entertained . 2nd 20 min half was 18mins to long for the over 30s as the score board ran away from them .. 3rd and last 20min half had the over 30s rally for a minute or two then the wheels came off big style as unders started scoring each time they had the ball . Game over . Score = Draw .

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last night went to Ince Rose Bridge v Army rl. Cracking game , superb first half performance saw Bridge take a very healthy half time lead. The fitness of the Army lads shone in the second half and they staged a superb fightback only to finally lose out 32-28. Was great to see a good few under 18s making their progression to the open age teams. Good crowd and great camaraderie between both teams played in excellent spirit well refereed by the young official.

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Kings Cross Park 40 Woodhouse Warriors 22

I thought this was a great set up, fully enclosed ground with when walking up from the town, high walls to one side allowing the pitch to be level. 

There is a nice club house and even a real ale,  from Bradfield Brewery today. It would take little to get the facilities up to NCL, should that ever be their aim, with two provisions. There is a cricket scoreboard on one side although I am sot sure there is a team still as no discernible  square. The other is something I have seen before, possibly at Batley Boys where all kicks are taken at the same end. 

The pitch seems full size but in goal areas are very small. 

Woodhouse were second going into the game but we’re always behind and there was no shortage of points scored especially in the first half. Thankfully I was in the god company of Martin from Sheffield or would not have known one lad scored a hat trick for the hosts.

For anyone local or that matter further away like Martin and I, a clubI would strongly recommend. They tweeted the game on the night before which is always useful 

attendance about 70

 

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Cracking game at Ackworth, it was a game of two halves in front of around 250 to 300 spectators.

 Drighlington came out of the block’s way faster than the home side and notched up a 16-point lead in the first 20 minutes, at this stage it looked like the top of the league were going to dish out a cricket score.

      Drig extended their lead to 22 – 0 before Ackworth started to become organised and come into the game, Ackworth’s number 6 Shaun Roberts handed off his opposite number to race into the corner for a converted try to bring up a half-time score of 6 – 22

     Ackworth dominated the second half and eventually dragged themselves back into the game at 12 – 22, they then bombed a real chance when Gav Lightowler dummied and sliced through the Drig defence, lucky for Drig his support was left flat footed.

     5 minutes later Ackworth score again  to make it 18 – 22 at this point they completely dominated field position, however for unknown reasons Ackworth started to piggyback the visitors up the field and then allow them to gain multiple sets, eventually Drig kicked two of the many penalties on offer to extend their lead to 26 – 18 before the final whistle.

Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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13 hours ago, groundhopper said:

Kings Cross Park 40 Woodhouse Warriors 22

I thought this was a great set up, fully enclosed ground with when walking up from the town, high walls to one side allowing the pitch to be level. 

There is a nice club house and even a real ale,  from Bradfield Brewery today. It would take little to get the facilities up to NCL, should that ever be their aim, with two provisions. There is a cricket scoreboard on one side although I am sot sure there is a team still as no discernible  square. The other is something I have seen before, possibly at Batley Boys where all kicks are taken at the same end. 

The pitch seems full size but in goal areas are very small. 

Woodhouse were second going into the game but we’re always behind and there was no shortage of points scored especially in the first half. Thankfully I was in the god company of Martin from Sheffield or would not have known one lad scored a hat trick for the hosts.

For anyone local or that matter further away like Martin and I, a clubI would strongly recommend. They tweeted the game on the night before which is always useful 

attendance about 70

 

Woodhouse are one of those sides who are never the same from one week to the next, it's a shame that their squad didn't have a bit more commitment because they have the backbone of a good side especially when Romeo plays.

Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mid winter on the Red Rose side of the Pennines has no RL on a saturday afternoon, so I took myself across the valley today to watch Wigan RU in action.

Before anyone accuses me of traitorous action please be reminded that in my neck of the woods at least there is no ' great divide ' and the two codes live amicably together.

Wigan RU nestles on the hills that overlook the River Douglas and  is effectively part of Haigh Country Estate , a mere 1 mile upstream  from the old Central Park beloved of the Riversiders.  A park setting that has in the past made money in the summer from the Camping club ( yes in Wigan ) and Bikers gatherings. Community clubs take note.......

But it can and does feel the elements. And the 3 playing surfaces are not far off collapse with less than half the season gone - the kids tomorrow have had their fun called off for the third time in a row.

I have no regrets that Community RL moved to summer when it did.

What about the rugby ? Well the first team beat St Helens West Park in a decent effort urged on by the Wigan  ex -club captain and former Barla South African Tourist Danny Barker.

But for me and for family reasons I was up there to watch the second team play  Liverpool St Helens , who of course now play RL in the NWML as well. It went to the last kick of the game when the Saints had  a penalty kick disallowed- disagreement between the linesmen resulting in the ref ruling no goal and Wigan won by two points !  

A bit of biff and to be honest if we think we have problems with discipline at community level then RU definitely has.

Back to that two codes amicable  theme.

LSH well served by Sean Richardson the ex Fev Cas  Wakefield  ( and a few Others ) forward pulling his boots on as stand off at 48 , whilst Barla Youth Aussie Tourist Shaun Selby a mere 36 year old played his first ever RU game . Rob Dunn a Shevington Sharks king pin also enjoying a run out.

In the bar after match Ryan Baxter and John Ellis from the Pats no doubt eyeing the talent....

And so to my real question ;

How can RL , the toughest team game in the world , offer a social product that only tests when it needs to and nevertheless allows ' competitive ' involvement into middle age and frankly beyond. without having to resort to our derivatives such as Masters and Tag ?

 

 

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8 hours ago, del capo said:

 

 

How can RL , the toughest team game in the world , offer a social product that only tests when it needs to and nevertheless allows ' competitive ' involvement into middle age and frankly beyond. without having to resort to our derivatives such as Masters and Tag ?

 

 

Have the defensive line back 5m instead of 10, 

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1 hour ago, Impartial Observer said:

Have the defensive line back 5m instead of 10, 

How about re-classifying  the Premier Divisions of the major Regional Leagues as Tier 4  ( which with their playing strengths and facilities most of them are in effect already ) and making Tier 5 and below subject to a 5m rule rather than 10 ?

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  • 1 month later...

Christmas  , New year and a  recent Covid  isolation for my family  now over.

That eternal argument over the CC and  it's usefulness continues but for me the ' Old Tin Pot' remains a worthwhile objective.

So I went down to the first round ( televised ) game at Orrell St James.- against the British Army.

More than a few thought the same !

Car parks over spilling and streets log jammed everywhere. At least 1500 present at £3 entrance. Queue at both bars never stopped. Will set the club up for most of this season. Treasurer bound to be happy. Maybe should have had a can only beer sale tent as well but difficult to predict...

The Lancashire based Regiments had their recruitment tents up and plenty of stuff to play with  though I wouldn't trust most of our locals with sub machine guns....

So what do I take from this ?

A heathy vibrant club able to host the best our Forces can deliver . A good clubhouse ( World Cup Legacy funded ) 4 fields to play on. It's regained and on today's showing re converted it's local community to RL

Re-converted may be too strong a word - RU is also loved here and St James have a winter RU side as well.

.But this complex has always featured an RL field. It was my home at  St Cuthberts Primary  in the 50's ,   but more importantly for our record keepers was the residence of non other than the great Pemberton Rovers  RFC who featured in the 1907 Challenge Cup draw all those years ago.

The wheel turns full circle. OSJ flying the  RL flag once more for West Wigan

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First game of the year for me.

My wife was ill Saturday and this prevented me getting the 6.19 train to Edinburgh so thankful there was a Sunday tie

Went to Bentley who have returned to Wheatley Hill RU and the prog today’s indicated they will be there all season

Crowd bigger than it would have appeared on TV as the camera side had a small stand and easier access. I would guess 800 but am rarely accurate with my guesses 

I thought everything was done well today, the organisation was good, the atmosphere was really like a cup tie and the two sides in my opinion equally matched

Good to see a Doncaster side in the conference, pretty sure they are the first. Hard to say on one game but they should be high in the table

expecially in Yorkshire there are some good all conference or conference v Championship 1 fixtures in two weeks and recommend them to everyone

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13 hours ago, groundhopper said:

First game of the year for me.

My wife was ill Saturday and this prevented me getting the 6.19 train to Edinburgh so thankful there was a Sunday tie

Went to Bentley who have returned to Wheatley Hill RU and the prog today’s indicated they will be there all season

Crowd bigger than it would have appeared on TV as the camera side had a small stand and easier access. I would guess 800 but am rarely accurate with my guesses 

I thought everything was done well today, the organisation was good, the atmosphere was really like a cup tie and the two sides in my opinion equally matched

Good to see a Doncaster side in the conference, pretty sure they are the first. Hard to say on one game but they should be high in the table

expecially in Yorkshire there are some good all conference or conference v Championship 1 fixtures in two weeks and recommend them to everyone

I went to watch the Bentley v Stanningley game on Saturday 😞 "YES SATURDAY" luckily for me my eldest daughter only lives a mile away at Sprotborough so I ended up tormenting my two granddaughters instead.

Witty & Co @ Bentley have done a grand job and built a solid club and are now the target to aim for, we had been the leading club for 20 years or more in the district but failed to build, we've been the guy who looks at himself in the mirror while the other guy has pulled the bird.

 

Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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  • 2 weeks later...

 Today  I enjoyed a trip to  the Miners in Leigh.

CC Challenge Round 2 .

That brought  Anthony Murrays resurgent North Wales Crusaders  side to  his  own ( maybe ) ) grass routes

  The ground was packed to the rafters and with at least 1500 in there a good time for all concerned. The  gate receipts for the Miners will half fund  this year's campaign  from  today alone.

For me . bumping into old mates, icons of the amateur game and the pros that came from us . Legends everywhere. with a common voice as to how good it was to be back--

Crusaders had a good day today as well. Their travelling support loved it - especially Wales Leader  Mike Nicholas. The big crowd helped. 40 - 8 was on analysis a bit tough on the amateurs  who had breaks which  if they had converted them would have made a better picture . Crusaders on this showing are certainly top end of Div 1

That Patrick Ah  Van by the way   needs some stopping at this level !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  spiritual home..

The place was packed to the rafters

 

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Whilst there were some good fixtures in the challenge cup, it was also National Cup today. I think there are only, 20 entrants this year but it is good to see support from a few conference sides. Why the dates of the two competition had to coincide when there are no amateur fixtures next week is beyond me

Looked initially so Haresfich who are publicity shy so made the long trip up to Cumbria and Cockermouth

I had previously visited a pitch adjacent to the Union ground where they changed but things are now looking up for the club with money fri the World Cup Legacy fund and others, they have taken over what I assume was a little used community centre and have worked hard to install two bars and fence off the pitch

A crowd of 250 attended and the bard were busy, so a few years ago they would  have given all the bat money to the Union club who may well have been good hosts but are their competitors for players. The social side I’d a.so taking off with a race night after the game and bingo and sportsman’s dinners advertised

On the field they looked like what they are, a team playing out of season and not fully fit, playing against one from a higher division.

I was very impressed by some of the passing from Waterhead who won 66 to 6 with a diplomatic final whistle after 70mins when Cockermouth scored their points

I would love to more in this area but as a sign of the times,my first visit was got a 6pm and I drove there and back in a day, now I need a hotel afterwards from a 2pm

Off now to Rochdale to see the Hurricanes first match having watched the Bears a  couple of times from their inception and about half the home games at The Butts

Have seem the comments on West Wales, Cornwall etc and am concerned about the score here as well. Hopefully will be proven wrong

 Note Haresfinch v Orrell in next round in two weeks so should attend. If anyone has a game next week, please post

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  • 2 weeks later...

National Cup week again and despite indicating a trip to Haresfinch was planned, have found myself working in and around Inverness for a week or more so split the journey in my favourite RL destination, Cumbria

Maryport is probably the only town to have three amateur teams but none at semi pro but is as much as RL centred town as say Wigan

Today Maryport hosted the A team of Thatto Heath.  The journey up was interesting after Kendal with both hands firmly on the steering wheel after Keswick and torrential rain on arrival. I like the town but first visit for almost ten years but despite the rain had a walk around

Getting close to kick off, it looked the weather would keep the crown very low in numbers but the rain stopped almost on 2 pm and well over a 100 watching before half time.

Like most Cumbria teams Maryport have their own ground and bar and this is railed off and visible from the station

The pitch looked perfect before kick off but inevitable deteriorated and would have been difficult for anyone playing their first or second game of the season with a number needing assistance for cramp.

Thatto went 6 up, then scores were level but the visitors went on to win 18 6 to reach the last eight.

No RL again next week as heading north, nearest game of football for the 19th is Brora and would love to add to my small total of Highland League grounds visited but weather forecast is a week of rain so that seems unlikely. 

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3 hours ago, neutralfan said:

Could somebody inform me if Mirfield Stags have folded again? They dont seem to have a website anymore?

No idea if it's a new team or a rename of the Stags but there's a 'Mirfield ARLFC' Facebook page with the following update on Feb 5th:

 

"Mirfield ARLFC today announces Tom Coates and Mikey Otty as the first two members of the new club’s management team.

The pair will be joined on the management team by Mirfield's two new coaches, whose identities will be revealed in due course.

Tom (left) and Mikey (right) both have long associations with the old club as players and served on the committee throughout its last season.

Tom has experience working in the sport in several commercial and marketing roles, including for the RFL, while Mikey has helped to manage and coach teams at grassroots and junior level.

In a joint statement, they said: “We’re both proud to play our part in helping rugby league to thrive in Mirfield.

“People like Richard Silverwood, Ryan Sparks, Phil Taylor-Guck, Frank Middleton and many, many more have dedicated countless hours towards achieving that same goal and our aim is to build on the foundations they’ve established.

“We have ambitions in lots of areas, but our first objective is to build up a community of players who are committed to helping us establish the club, and we’ve been very pleased with the initial response.

“We’re also extremely grateful to have already received the backing of several local businesses and others wishing to support the future of rugby league in Mirfield.

"We’ll have some announcements to make on that front very shortly, as well as news on our pitch, clubhouse and training base.

“We’re also excited as a club to shortly announce the coaching team. Both coaches have played at professional level, including one who reached the very top of the game, and both have direct connections to Mirfield.”

Would you like to help or support the club? Email hello@mirfieldrl.com.

Mirfield ARLFC"

 

Copy and pasted from the Facebook page. So seems there is a Mirfield team.

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