Halifax move a “fairytale” for Widdop… but not yet

Gareth Widdop returned to his roots to feature in the Danny Jones Memorial Day at The Shay on Sunday, and admitted that a move to Halifax in the future isn’t inconceivable.

Halifax-born Widdop kicked-off the match between a Halifax XIII and World XIII to help raise funds for the Danny Jones fund, with over £25,000 eventually raised on the day.

A star-studded lineup of Rugby League greats dusted off their boots to take part, with St. Helens legend Sean Long, Bradford Bulls favourite Robbie Hunter-Paul and former Warrington captain Lee Briers amongst those in the World XIII, who played against a siege of past and present Fax favourites.

A siege of the game’s greats took part.

Danny’s widow, Lizzie, performed “Abide With Me”, following her glowing performance at the Challenge Cup Final, whilst Jones’ two amateur clubs, King Cross and Ovenden, joined forces to take on a Calderdale Select side.

As for St. George Illawarra and England ace Widdop, he admitted that he was honoured to take part.

“It was an unbelievable turnout in Halifax,” Widdop told TotalRL.com.

Gareth Widdop took the kick-off to start the match
Gareth Widdop took the kick-off to start the match

“We had a great crowd there and we raised a lot of money for a tragic event.  There was a lot of people who came over from Australia just for the game to raise money for the family and it was good to be part of that day.

“It’s always great to go back home. Halifax is where I was brought up and I’ve still got a lot of family members that live there. To go down and kick the game off was great.

Lizzie Jones with twins Bobby and Phoebe
Lizzie Jones with twins Bobby and Phoebe

“To raise that money is just incredible. In Rugby League it is such a tight knit community in comparison to other sports. In tragic times everyone comes together and gets behind one another and do things for a great cause like this.”

Following his brief cameo at The Shay, Widdop was questioned about a more prolonged stay at his hometown club at some point in his career.

“I was asked that question a few times and my answer was ‘maybe one day.’ It would be a fairytale to finish my career there I guess, but it’s just great to get down and see a lot of people I grew up with and family members.”

For a full feature of the Danny Jones memorial day, buy this week’s League Express, in stores now.