HUDDERSFIELD Rugby Union Club’s centenary season is now well under way and the first official function is next Saturday when players and officials from the 1940s and 50s will re-unite for a lunch in the Waterloo Suite.
The centenary season is being marked by an excellent start by the club’s first team, who are playing at the highest level in the club’s distinguished history.
Under the expert guidance of Director of Rugby Mark Sowerby and fellow coach Neil Summers, Huddersfield are currently third in National II North, having already won four of their first five fixtures of the new season.
For the last five seasons, former Wakefield man Sowerby has overseen Huddersfield’s move up the rugby union pyramid structure, cleverly nurturing the club’s own junior talent while bringing in the odd player here and there to play in key positions.
One of the biggest, of course, is stand-off Chris Johnson, recruited from Huddersfield University by Sowerby’s predecessor Hamish Pratt, and who earlier this year received international honours when he was selected for the England Counties side who played against Ireland in Dublin and France at Twickenham.
Johnson has already racked up 90 points this season in just five games and is one of the most highly-rated fly-halves outside the Premiership.
Next Saturday’s gathering will be the first of four planned lunches, for players, officials and supporters who have been attached to the club through the various decades, and next week, diners will be entertained by the club’s oldest living member, Trevor Burgin OBE, ahead of the first XV’s home game with Macclesfield.
Anyone wishing to attend and has not already booked should contact Barrie Starbuck on e-mail at email@example.com
The centenary season was officially launched the previous month, with several events, including the renaming of the stand, now known as The Wade Stand, named after Jack and Pam Wade. Jack is a past president (1988-1990) and both have been generous supporters of the club for many years.
Mr Wade was also on hand to help unveil the centenary plaque along with his fellow honorary life members Terry Cole and Trevor Burgin.
Originally formed in 1909, the first-ever fixture was against Barnsley, who should have been playing in an exhibition friendly, but after a mix-up with their dates, had to give backword, and a combined youth and veterans side from neighbouring YMCA stepped into the breach.
There were also exhibitions from the Mini/Junior section.
There were stalls in aid of the NSPCC charity and the Wooden Spoon, which is a rugby-based charity for disadvantaged and disabled children in the UK, while the club also had a stall selling centenary merchandise.
Among goods available from the club are ties, dress shirts, blazer badges, lambswool jumpers, commemorative books and photograph books.
Anyone wishing to purchase any of the above should contact the club on 469801.
There is a whole host of events planned between now and the end of next May starting with next Saturday’s lunch.
Following that, there is a lunch for players and officials from the 60s and 70s on November 14 (contact Dick Lockwood 07872 920811, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Christmas Luncheon on December 19. (contact Lisa at the club office 469801).
The President’s Lunch for players from the 80s and 90s is on January 16, 2010.
The contact is Greg Workman on 07825 550526 or e-mail email@example.com.
Jonathan Prescott is in charge of the Players’ Lunch on February 20, for those playing from 2000 up to the present day (tel 07977 443096 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Centenary Annual Dinner, which is a black tie event, is on March 5 (contact Lisa at the club office), after which the ladies get their chance when the club are staging a Ladies Day Luncheon on March 27. Contact Jayne Baggs on 312818 or e-mail email@example.com
The Players Presentation is on April 27 (contact the office) while the Centenary Tour, which this year visits Lido di Jesolo on Italy’s Adriatic coast is on the May Bank Holiday weekend, April 30 to Monday, May 3, when the club are taking a first XV squad plus a second senior squad made up of 2nds, 3rds and Academy players.
The final event on the Centenary calendar is a grand Centenary Ball (black tie) on May 29. Contact Kieron Stead 07968 752068 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org