Cup revival to help poorly girl

Players from The Red Cat celebrate their victory in last year's Shaw Cup final
Players from The Red Cat celebrate their victory in last year's Shaw Cup final
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LEIGH’S biggest rugby league competition is about to kick off once again and will raise money to help a former RL star’s grandaughter.

The Shaw Cup, which pits the town’s pubs and social clubs against each other in a competition allowing taproom sporting debutants to line up alongside ex-professionals, is back for its second year after being revived by Leigh Miners Rangers player Jimmy Davies.

The expanded contest sees eight teams battling it out to try and claim the crown won last year by The Red Cat, who beat The Centurion in last year’s final.

The competition will once again be a star-studded affair, with big names lacing up their boots once more including Richard Varkulis, who will line up for The Musketeer, and hooker Sean Penkywicz.

Popular former Leigh player Dave Bradbury has also amassed a group of talent around him in his role coaching the Hilton Park’s team, with the likes of Paul Anderson and Simon Svabic expected to play a role at some point.

The Shaw Cup’s rules should present the Hilton Park side with something of a selection quandary, as teams can only have one former professional and six signed players on the pitch at any time, with the rest of the team being made up of unregistered players.

There is also a serious aim to the knock-out contest, with the tournament raising money for rugby league legend Kevin Ashcroft’s six-year-old grand-daughter Kelsie, who is currently battling a rare brain tumour.

Jimmy Davies, one of the tournament’s organisers who will also be lining up in The Centurion’s team, said: “I can’t wait for the tournament to begin, it’s going to be fun this year.

“All the teams are a lot better this year, and there’s a lot more people getting involved.

“People in Leigh usually get pretty excited about the Shaw Cup so hopefully we will get a big turn-out, especially with it all being for such a good cause.

All the matches in the tournament will be held at Leigh Miners, after plans to share the matches with Leigh East fell through.

The Shaw Cup will get underway on November 23, when the Musketeer and the Hilton Park meet. Abbey Street Labour Club will enter the competition with a match against the Bowling Green on November 25, before Bond Street Catholic Club meet The Bulls Head on November 30 and The Centurion get their campaign under way against The Foundry on December 2.

The semi-finals will be played on the Friday evening and Sunday afternoon after the first round is complete, with the final the following Saturday.

Friday night games will kick off at 7pm and Sunday afternoon matches at 2pm, with the final being a 2pm kick-off on a Saturday afternoon.