Rugby club celebrates 50 years

Steve Nixon from Leigh Miners receives the National Cup in 1983
Steve Nixon from Leigh Miners receives the National Cup in 1983

Past and present members of an amateur rugby league club will come together this weekend to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Leigh Miners Rangers will welcome back trophy-winning players and those who went on to play for professional teams.

It will be part of a day of celebrations on Saturday to mark the anniversary.

Public relations officer Jeff Gorse said: “It’s a good milestone because, without wishing to sound morbid, it’s nice that there are players who were involved in 1966 who are still here to celebrate it.

“We have still got that unbroken link from the people who set it up in 1966. It’s great that three of the four founder members are with us and have confirmed their attendance on the night.

“Getting all these people from all the different generations who have been so successful with the club and enjoyed their time with the club and putting them all in one room is a kind of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“Getting all these people from all the different generations who have been so successful with the club and enjoyed their time with the club and putting them all in one room is a kind of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Jeff Gorse

The club will play Castleford side Lock Lane at 2.30pm, the team they played when they won the National Cup in 1983.

Before the match, there will be a buffet and a question-and-answer session at the club from 1pm.

It will involve players from the winning 1983 side, including John Webster and Tony Cottrell, who went on to play professionally for Leigh Centurions.

Another former player, Paul Dowling, will also take part and there may be some members of the Lock Lane team that took part in the National Cup final.

Tickets cost £5 for both the pre-match event and admission to the game.

The anniversary celebrations will continue with a dinner at the club from 7.30pm.

There will be a two-course meal and the guest speaker will be Bill Ashurst, who played for Wigan in the 1960s, including in a match against Leigh Miners in 1969.

It will be followed by another question-and-answer session with different players.

They will include Tommy Goulden, Tommy Martyn and Martin Ridyard, who all went on to play for Leigh.

People will also be inducted into the club’s hall of fame, though it has not yet been revealed who they will be.

Tickets for the evening event are expected to sell out. They cost £25 per person and £250 for a table of 12.

This weekend will also see a book about the club’s history on sale for the first time.

Mr Gorse has spent the past five years working on the book, looking through memorabilia and speaking to members of the club.

He said: “It’s looking very good. I’m very pleased with how it’s looking. The feedback from the people who have had a look at it is very positive.”

The book costs £10 and will be available to buy from the club on Saturday.

To mark the anniversary, the team’s kit has been changed this season from the familiar amber and black to red and white, replicating the club’s first kit.

The programmes for matches have looked back at the club’s past and special anniversary pin badges are for sale.

To order a copy of the book or buy tickets for Saturday’s events, contact Mr Gorse on 07845 190936 or jeffgorse@yahoo.com.