This week’s guest on Meet the Green Machine is club skipper George Hedgley. A proud native of the north east, George has made his home amongst the Dales folk and has established himself as one of our most durable and popular players, being one of only 4 players* to have started every match of a full 30-game National League season since the expansion to 16 team leagues in 2009/10. He has clocked up 130 1st XV starts since his debut in September 2015. At one point we thought we might lose him to the bright lights of Darlington, but their loss has been our gain….
The photo shows George enjoying one of his favourite Green Machine experiences – leading the team off the pitch to thunderous applause after defeating Stourbridge in the last league game played at the Avenue in March 2020.
* The four are Dan Solomi in 2009/10, Tom Barrett in 2013/14, Jake Armstrong in 2014/15 and George in 2018/19.
1. How long have you been involved with the club?
I joined the club in 2011 whilst I was at Giggleswick School and played Colts rugby under Andrew Coates and David Colgrave. I had a brief spell away at Newcastle Falcons and Darlington Mowden Park for a season but have been back ever since.
2. What’s the day job?
Construction Site Manager for Sutcliffe Construction.
3. Who’s at home?
My girlfriend Alishia.
4. What is your earliest rugby memory?
Lots of early memories at Guisborough RUFC mini/juniors. Beating Harrogate in a Yorkshire Cup semi-final was a real highlight (funny how everybody seems to enjoy beating Harrogate!). My old mate Phil Shields had a stormer and got picked for Yorkshire as a result. Great player – and still at Guisborough.
5. What is your favourite Wharfedale memory?
Too many to count and lots that can’t be told in polite company. The last play victory at Tynedale to avoid relegation in our first season in N2 is up there – Woody’s try epitomised his role that season – carried us at times, a true warrior and legend of the club. Bittersweet being to avoid relegation, but a great feeling nonetheless, pulling the season round after clocking up only 12 league points at Christmas. True Wharfedale spirit!
Super Sundays and the Isle of Man tour are also well up there!
6. What is your favourite away ground?
I don’t really have a favourite ground but I enjoy the trips to Tynedale, Sheffield Tigers and Otley. Its always good playing against teams you know well and there’s always a good atmosphere in the bar after the match.
7. Three things that you like
Paddy’s Hole (true northern beauty spot!), the South of France and the Avenue after a win!
8. And three things that you can’t stand…
- Gameshows and soaps;
- the current pandemic of lycra that is taking over the world. I’ve taken up cycling during the pandemic and and feel duty bound to don the lycra apparel that only caters for blokes who resemble a bookie’s pen….
- Man buns and mullets – I’m undeniably heading towards being a fully-fledged member of the Elton John/Wayne Rooney club – but I will take being bald above the barber shop crimes that are being committed in rugby circles any day of the week. Leave the mullet to Lord Patrick of Swayze or Chris Waddle – and the only man who can carry the man bun off with any modicum of grace is Adam Howard (who’s also a lot bigger than me!)
9. Which three people would you most like to have round for dinner?
Tyson Fury, David Blaine and Jamie Vardy.
10. Three statements about yourself – two true and one a lie….
- I was once third best in the country at breaststroke…
- As a youngster in the north east I once led out Mourinho’s Chelsea team as guest mascot at the Riverside Stadium
- I went on a drivers’ speed awareness course with Chubby Brown – “truck drivers never have kids – they pull out when they want….”.