27th November 2020, 14:52 | academy
With playing suspended below senior Super League level, scholarship and academy players from Hull FC and Wigan Warriors are taking their rivalry to the kitchen instead.
They go head-to-head on Wednesday 2 December to decide the destiny of Rugby League’s Roses Masterchefs 2020.
CSgt (Colour Sergeant) Michael Beaton of the Royal Marines Educational Awareness Team – who was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in October – will referee the tie, which will take place online via Zoom with a 6.30pm kick off.
Hull FC coach, Danny Wilson, says:
“We had a cooking lesson with Michael during the first lockdown and he does a fantastic job. It’s a great way to for the young players to develop skills that will help them achieve their Rugby League potential whilst learning about the Armed Forces.
“As a club we have a great relationship with Wigan and it’s a great concept. Our lads are looking forward to the win. The menu hasn’t been decided yet so we don’t know what the conditions will be. We’re hoping for a fish dish and we know that something with a crust will suit Wigan. Lasagne has been rumoured. We’ll cook what’s in front of us!”
Rival coach Shane Eccles of Wigan Warriors adds:
"We were poised to start back training in November and then the national lockdown kicked in. Immediately, we contacted Mike, who’s done a number of sessions for us this year which have been great for the players to learn new cooking skills.
"This was when the idea of a combined session with Hull FC youth teams was suggested and it quickly snowballed. It’s great for the lads to learn some new skills, whilst also trying to add a competitive element when they have missed so much rugby this year.
"This is just another way that our sport is doing what it can in difficult times to work together and provide opportunities for our players – not just as rugby players but to teach them valuable life lessons.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if all the players are as talented in the kitchen as they are on the rugby pitch. The oven gloves are off – and if Hull can’t stand the heat they’d better get out of the kitchen!”
Referee CSgt Michael Beaton MBE of the Royal Marines says:
“These lads love competition and we don’t want to lose that ethos, so let’s compete in a different way but also get the chance to inspire and educate the squads through food.
“The match has all the ingredients of a classic and I’ll be keeping a close eye on both teams. There’s been a fair amount of stirring going on, but it’s all in good taste though and after what we’ve all been through this year it will be great to have a bit of fun. May the best team win.
“Using food also brings the teams together in a different way, but with the same result they would have had by training on the pitch – banter, enjoying what they do out of their comfort zone, but also keeping in touch with each other which is vitally important in these difficult times. Let’s cook!”
CSgt Michael Beaton MBE has been running cook-a-long sessions within Rugby League and other sports throughout 2020 to help popularise home-made, healthy and nutritional meals among sports people of all ages and backgrounds.
‘Boom’ Beaton’s involvement in Rugby League came initially from an RFL invitation to support England’s under 16 and under 18 squads in their test series in France a decade ago. His role was to encourage players to support one other through cooking meals during a 10-day camp under his supervision, and to use food to talk, inspire and educate.
Mike then began to receive requests from across the game to deliver nutrition workshops and to support the Royal Marines career opportunities work. A major highlight was being part of the Scotland squad for RWLC2013 and leading out the team against the USA on Remembrance Day.