Sadly the game on Saturday 30th April 2016 at home to Coventry brought to a close a breathtaking 20 seasons in Level 3 National rugby for the Green Machine.
It all started back on 31st August 1996 with a trip to the West Midlands to play Walsall. We began our journey in the higher echelons with a 34-24 victory.
Over the past 20 seasons we have played a total of 549 games, winning 250, losing 279 and drawing 20. At The Avenue we have played 274 games, winning 160, losing 102 and drawing 12. Away from home it’s played 275, won 90, lost 177 and 8 drawn. We have scored a total of 12,107 points, 6,727 at home and 5,380 away. Against it’s a total of 12,568 points, 5,256 at home and 7,312 away. The amazing thing is that in those 549 games we have only failed to trouble the scoreboard on 4 occasions.
Our biggest victory came on 26th September 2009 when we thumped Manchester, a club in freefall, by 124 points to 5. On 10th January 2015 we ourselves were on the wrong end of a drubbing. Ealing Trailfinders beat us by 78 points to 12. Certainly one to forget!
We’d also like to think that over the past two decades we, and in particular The Shed, have been instrumental in the advancement of many of today’s top referees. International whistle blowers Wayne Barnes, J P Doyle and Dave Pearson have all officiated at Wharfedale games, as have current Premiership officials Craig Maxwell-Keys, Tim Wigglesworth, Greg MacDonald, Ian Tempest, Matt Carley and Tom Foley. It would be wrong not to mention former Rugby Super League referees Karl Kirkpatrick and James Leahy.
So, 20 wonderful years of living the dream have come to and end. Happy memories and fantastic players.
A total of 211 players have appeared in the famous green shirt over that time. Mark Bedworth, scorer of a record 1024 league points, Andrew Hodgson with his club record of 102 tries, Hedley Verity, David Lister, Chris Malherbe, Rob Baldwin and the late Anthony Capstick to name but a few.
Next season will bring new challenges with highs and lows along the way. We’ll be reacquainted with old friends from the likes of Tynedale, Otley and Stourbridge, and meet new adversaries such as Caldy, Leicester Lions and Luctonians.
Let’s reflect on 20 years of memories but look forward with hope and ambition to the coming season in National 2 North.