As July came to a close, Masters Rugby League took another huge step as it continues to cover new ground across the UK.
More progress has been made in Women’s Masters, with yet another team being brought into the fold. The latest Women’s Masters team to take to the field was Heworth from York – they travelled across to the experienced Leigh Miners Ladies, who proved to be fantastic hosts once again.
The Heworth team is a good mix of former players, players with some Masters experience and players completely new to Rugby League – a great balance that illustrates what Masters is all about!
Heworth’s Sherri Meldrum enjoyed not only her first game of Masters, but her first game of Rugby League ever: “We’ve only been together as a team for a couple of months, but it’s just so, so fun!”
Chief recruiter and team organiser for Heworth, Emma Stubbs, said: “The response from the ladies has been excellent.
“Our first game today was fantastic. It was really good to be at Leigh, as the Miners Ladies were amazing and very welcoming. We’ve really enjoyed to whole day!”
Heworth Ladies Masters will also form part of an historical day for the club this weekend (August 13), as they celebrate their 100-year anniversary.
In an action-packed day involving multiple Heworth teams, the Ladies Masters will take to the pitch as part of a mini round-robin, along with Leigh Miners Ladies and Blackpool Belles Women.
Stubbs also looked ahead to what’s set to be a memorable day for all at Heworth: “Our Ladies Masters are the seventeenth different team the club has produced across all disciplines, and we needed them to be part of our 100-year anniversary celebrations!”
The round-robin will run from 13:30 to 15:30 as part of Heworth’s celebrations.
Men’s Masters also welcomed some new faces, as teams on either side of the Pennines took to the field. In Yorkshire, Farnley Masters returned after several years away, as they welcomed Upton Masters – Vinnie Brown, Farnley’s team organiser and player, said: “Great to be back! Upton Masters are a brilliant set of lads and played the game in the right spirit.
“As a club, having a Masters team was something high on the priority list, especially with the launch of our new club house facilities next season. I can also confirm that we have a Women’s Masters team in training, with fixtures being lined up!”
In Lancashire, Ince Rose Bridge made their Masters debut as they hosted Cadishead in what was a successful first game.
Ince Rose Bridge team organiser, Carl Sargent, reflected on a great opening day: “Absolutely amazing! Our first game at home against Cadishead Rhinos was played in true Masters spirit.
“Once the game was finished all the players mingled and had a good chat and a few beers. It's great to see old players get their boots back on and off that couch.
“It’s wonderful to hear people say things like, ‘It's brought something back to my life’ and ‘I thought I'd never do that again!’”
Next, an historical day in South Wales – the first ever Welsh Masters Rugby League Festival took place recently, as after many years of flying the Masters flag, Cardiff Blue Dragons played host.
The festival was a big step forward with visitors from Aldershot and Fleet, Swindon St George and a combined Chester Gladiators/North Wales Buccaneers team. Players from Solent and Medway also made the journey to enjoy the festival atmosphere.
Most recently in the world of Masters Rugby League, this weekend (August 6) saw the first North West Masters Festival in three years, hosted at Crosfields in Warrington.
This weekend’s festival saw 250 Masters take part through playing and refereeing. Five sun-kissed Crosfields pitches saw seventeen teams play out an action-packed day of Masters Rugby League, with plenty of spectators soaking it all up.
Festival organisers Dave Reid and Kev Remond of Crosfields Masters put on yet another memorable day for North West Masters Rugby League. Both were working behind the scenes from morning until late afternoon to ensure the festival went smoothly and everyone had a great Masters experience, even finding time to play and referee!
Kev said: “Thanks to all who attended the festival. There was some great Rugby played, and some great sportsmanship both on and off the field.”
Fellow festival organiser Dave also reflected: “It was a brilliant day as always, thanks to all the teams for making the effort to come along and be part of a fantastic event, and a massive thanks to all the lads at Crosfields who worked hard to put it all together. Hopefully we’ll see you all next time for more fun and merriment!”
After yet another successful festival, it’s all eyes on Blackpool for the National Festival at Stanley Park on Saturday 3 September.
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