28th August 2019, 16:14 | 1895_cup

Thackeray grateful to receive Ray French Award

Thackeray grateful to receive Ray French Award

Anthony Thackeray captained Sheffield Eagles to a stunning Wembley win on Saturday, and said it was 'mega' to win the inaugural AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at the national stadium.

"It was outstanding - a mega experience," he said after the Eagles' 36-18 win over Widnes Vikings.

"I thought Widnes had the better of us in the first half, but we had a good chat at half time and said we said 'we've got one opportunity here which might never come around again' - and everyone had a really good dig.

"I'm just made up for the boys. They're a really good group and I'm pleased to be taking the trophy back to Sheffield.

"The fans were outstanding," he added.

"We really appreciate them. They're not the biggest following but they're as passionate as any - this is for them as well."

The 32-year-old halfback, who is a financial adviser away from Rugby League, admitted he initially had doubts about the 1895 Cup, but the experience of a Cup final at Wembley made it all worthwhile.

He said: "When the 1895 Cup first came about we were a bit dubious with having to play mid-week but it's all been worthwhile - we're lifting a trophy at Wembley!

"The build up all week has been good and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you see the size of the stadium.

"It's a mega competition," he added.

"You don't get chance to play in many cup finals and lift trophies - it's special and a real special venue. The Northern Rail Cup was special down at Blackpool, but this is ten-fold!"

Hull-born Thackeray, whose career has taken him to eight different clubs, claimed the Ray French Award after being voted Man of the Match by Our League members, but reserved praise for hat-trick hero Aaron Brown.

"Browny was outstanding and obviously scored three tries which was unbelievable," he said.

"He's only trained once this week because of his knee so full credit to him, I thought he was excellent and probably our best player today."

"Winning the Ray French Award is massive - I thought Browny was outstanding but I'll take it! Ray French is obviously a legend and I'm really grateful for winning it."