A tribute to those lost in 2013

Yesterday, looking back at the Rugby League year that was, we discussed the players moving on in 2014.

Then there are those people we have lost for good.

Steve Prescott was the most devastating loss to the Rugby League community as a whole after he put up such a remarkable fight against the cancer that eventually killed him, but there were plenty of others who passed away too who we should remember.

For us at League Express the most poignant was Raymond Fletcher, the great Rugby League journalist and record keeper, who wrote match reports for us for many years. Ray also faced a battle against cancer with great stoicism and good humour, but it finally caught up with him.

And of course there were a number of former players who passed away, including Dave Chisnall, who is mainly remembered as a member of a fearsome Warrington pack; Jim McCormack, the father of Scotland World Cup coach Steve, who played for Wigan and Oldham; John Burke, the fiery prop forward who played for many clubs; Terry Clawson, another brilliant forward whose career began at Featherstone but also took in many clubs; Albert Naughton, the great Widnes and Warrington stalwart, who played for Great Britain in the first World Cup Final in 1954; and Trevor Briggs, who played in Castleford’s Challenge Cup winning teams at Wembley in 1969 and 1970.

There was Joe Warham, who played for Oldham and distinguished himself as a coach of Oldham and Leeds, and later became the chief executive of the Leeds club. Also connected with Leeds was Graham Murray, who coached the Rhinos to their Wembley success in 1999 and suffered a grievous heart attack earlier this year.

Another club official who passed away was Ron Earnshaw, who gave such sterling service as the secretary of Batley over so many years. For such a long time he was the voice of the club.

And I’m sure there are many people who I’ve missed out of this list.

Apologies to them all, and condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones this year.

By Martyn Sadler