16th March 2020, 09:43 | masters
On a day when sport throughout the country was curtailed by the coronavirus restrictions, Masters Rugby League enjoyed its now traditional season start with the regional club festivals. This year the club festivals were held by Hindpool, Cumbria, Leyland, North West and Thornhill, Yorkshire.
The three club festivals together with Aldershot and Fleet hosting the Clippers in the south of the country meant that over 400 Masters players between 35 and 70+ years old were able to get out, play Masters Rugby League and have a great social day out.
In Yorkshire, 11 teams made up of players from 16 different Masters clubs turned out over 3 pitches at the home of Thornhill Trojans who were excellent hosts.
In the North West, Leyland Warriors Masters took no chances and erected a marquee to accommodate all the players for the social after game socialising. 14 teams with players from several other teams played on three somewhat soggy pitches in games which were described as 'thrilling and totally in the Spirit of Masters.'
The Cumbria clubs all headed to the south of the county to Hindpool's wonderful ground in the middle of Barrow. All five Cumbria clubs were represented. Hindpool's Graham Shaw commented all the players enjoyed the festival.
As the northern clubs launched their season with the clubs festivals, in the south Aldershot and Fleet were not to outdone as they launched their 2020 season with a home fixture against newcomers, the Clippers. Aldershot and Fleet's organiser, Steve Lowrie, who also refereed the game, commented after that the game had “tries aplenty from both sides. After the game, played in true Masters spirit, the teams retired to the clubhouse for Bangers and Mash and a few beers."
Masters Chair, Martin Flynn, who refereed at the Yorkshire Clubs Festival, spoke for all Masters as he welcomed the first games and festivals of the 2002 season. He expressed his hope that despite current coronavirus concerns that 2020 would be another successful year for Masters enabling more 35+ years old to enjoy Masters Rugby League across the country.