The Grizzlies, Canada’s touring Masters Rugby League side, are in Warrington tonight (Thursday 18 November, 6pm) to take on Crosfields under the lights at the town’s Victoria Park Stadium.
And Canada will even field a Warringtonian of their own in local lad Andrew Winstanley, who has spent the last eight years living and working in north America.
Masters Rugby League is a social form of the game for players aged 35 and over (men) aged 30 and over (women). Canada are only the second ever Masters international side to tour England, following in the footsteps of Australia, and Warrington is the penultimate stop on the tour before they take on Masters sides from England, Ireland and Wales at the Leigh East club this Sunday (21 November, 1pm-3).
The Grizzlies’ tour began at the South Leeds Stadium last Sunday, fielding a team of mixed experience players aged 36 to 61 against their hosts – the Dads and Lads Masters. In typical Masters fashion the game was played in excellent spirits, with outstanding performances from the Grizzlies Corey Fraser, Jarrett Muldoon and Chris Hrynkow. Blackpool scrum-half Neil Gavaghan was the Dads and Lads player of the match.
“We were made extremely welcome and enjoyed a great game of Masters Rugby League” said Grizzlies player-coach Daniel Tate. Skipper Nicholas Mew added: “The welcome we received at Hunslet was overwhelming. We were made to feel like family coming home. The match was a welcome learning experience and we look forward to learning more with each subsequent outing.”
The touring masters pictured after their fixture with Crosfields on Thursday night: