On 10 June, a York & District select side will visit Kharkiv, in the Ukraine, to play in the seventh A.V. Martyrosyan Memorial fixture. The visitors will join three representative teams from west, central and eastern Ukraine.
“We are looking forward to playing Nines this time,” said Ukrainian Federation of Rugby League president Artur Martyrosyan junior. “For the Ukraine national team it’s part of our preparation for the Belgrade Nines tournament, on 24th, 25th of June, and we are very pleased to be welcoming our friends from England.”
The tour has been organised by York Acorn boss, Leigh Paul-Rientoul and businessman Gary Dickenson, who is involved in the neighbouring, New Earswick All Blacks club. It will see players from each of the city’s four community clubs (Acorn, All Blacks, Heworth and York Lokomotive) combine.
Paul-Rientoul explained that the tour came about due to his links with Martyrosyan, who he met in 2009 – 2010, while playing in Ukraine for a touring BARLA Great Britain U23s team.
“I’ve always kept in contact with Artur and he invited us to take a team over,” said the Acorn coach. “It’s great to have representative rugby back in the city. Lads who don’t necessarily get the chance to play for BARLA GB or Yorkshire get the opportunity to represent York, enjoy the experience of going on tours like this and make unforgettable memories.”