7th February 2019, 10:43 | ChallengeCup
Great Britain Police are determined to make the most of their moment in the spotlight with Our League streaming of their second round tie at Wigan St Patricks in the Coral Challenge Cup.
The Police have been regulars in the game’s oldest knockout competition, and have a Rugby League history stretching back almost three decades since the GBPRLA was officially founded.
But they hope the media coverage they have received since their secretary Graham Gallagher attended the second-round draw at St Pat’s – and grinned widely when George Williams and Micky Higham conjured up the tie between the Police and the draw hosts – will help raise awareness of Rugby League in the force, in the game’s traditional heartlands and beyond.
And beyond that, they want to spread the word that after a decade of cuts, the Police are recruiting again – and they’d love to include some rugby talent, male or female, among any new officers on the beat.
There was an extra twist to the draw from Gallagher’s angle as his son, Tom, has recently signed for St Pat’s, and is set to play for them later this year.
Meet the squad pic.twitter.com/aaCKrDs0w0— GB police RL (@GBpoliceRL) February 3, 2019
But Tom’s beat is further north in Lancashire, in the Burnley and Colne area – and his father explains that the Police have been strangely short of players from the Wigan area.
“It is a surprise that our playing connections with the Wigan area are quite limited – although we do have a couple of Wiganers on the committee in me and Clive Tattum, who actually played for St Pat’s as a youth.
“We reckon there must also be plenty more potential Police players in other hotbeds such as Warrington and St Helens. We are looking to remedy this situation and I am hopeful that the game on Sunday will assist in raising our profile to players who are employed by the police, but are either not aware that we exist, or have simply not considered us as a playing option.”
That playing option can be an attractive and adventurous one – previous tours have included South Africa, Canada and Florida, while there are regular internationals against their Australian counterparts.
Live stream games picked for @Coral #ChallengeCup Second Round 🏆📺@BBCSport with @MilfordARLFC v @LockLaneOpenAge #OURLEAGUE with @wigan_st_pats v @GBpoliceRL— The Challenge Cup (@TheChallengeCup) February 1, 2019
MORE 👉 https://t.co/uI4xs4kskE pic.twitter.com/Z7r0f9CTE6
And no article on Police Rugby League would be complete without a reference to some distinguished former players who were also in the Force – including the likes of Wayne Bennett, Mal Meninga and Paul Sironen in Australia, and the former Bradford Northern prop Jon Hamer closer to home.
“The police service has suffered huge cuts since 2008,” adds Gallagher. “We are optimistic though that several forces are about to commence recruiting again so, here is a clarion call for anyone who can play rugby and fancies a career in the police - get in touch!
“When we do play, we are highly aware that we are ambassadors of the police service and conduct ourselves with the highest standards both on and off the field.”
Whenever their Challenge Cup adventure ends, the Police’s next commitment will be in the Presidents Cup, a four-cornered competition also including GB Teachers, GB Students and the Combined Armed Forces.
“Whilst on tour, we embark on community education programmes with deprived children and conduct ‘Well-being’ visits to children’s hospitals and so on,” Gallagher continued. “Some of our players also volunteer to conduct tours of duty with the host police force; in fact, whilst in Vancouver, some of our players missed a function because they were dealing with a drug-related death with the local police.”
Tickets for the 2019 Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, August 25 can be purchased by calling the Rugby League Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugby-league.com/tickets - Our League members get 5% off all tickets.