Michael Watson

Many members will know that our dear friend Mickey Watson passed away last week in accidental circumstances whilst walking in Wales with his brothers, Stephen and David.

What a loyal and trusted man! Embedded with Wharfedale heritage and character – so dedicated and inspiring.

A former Ermysteds pupil, he played in an era of Wharfdale promotions when he was so vital to the success of the team and respected as a senior lieutenant of Clarty‘s leadership with John McGuinn and his evergreen car sharer, Ray Cryer. His playing career, like so many others, was greatly influenced by Jimmy Harrison.

As many have said, Mickey was the fastest hooker in the country, and played on the wing on many occasions because of his real pace. He switched seamlessly between the two positions. He was one of the jewels in the side but would always prefer the plaudits to go to the team. Playing between Andy Gains and David Townson in the front row for so many years was his ideal. They perhaps had their arms around Mickey as much as Sue! For the purists, he was a striker rather than a hooker, and was renowned for taking balls against the head on a regular basis. His contortions in the scrum and his failure to bind made life difficult for his props and the referee alike, but his talent was unquestionable.

A keen contributor to the Club WhatsApp, Mickey talked common sense. He certainly valued the core principles of respect, sportsmanship and integrity. You could sense the calculation of a keen brain beneath the happy exterior. He was trusted as much as he was admired. He was a spectator’s favourite with his touch, imagination and flair, and always appeared to be in peak condition. I am sure that there were occasions when he stole the cloak of invisibility! Even now he was training for a half marathon.

There will be few who can remember Mickey’s talent as an accomplished flautist and singer. Perhaps there will be more who recall his incredible ability to sink a pint without swallowing. Never take him on!

Mickey had, in life, woven a rich fabric of friendship. Many of those friends played within the Wharfedale club. That is the rugby reality that is deep in our club’s heritage. His demeanour reminds us that a compassionate smile is the universal language of kindness. His teammates will tell you what a privilege it was to play with him – a man capable of conjuring golden moments out of nothing. He was certainly capable of playing at higher levels, but stayed with his passion. His loyalty to Wharfdale was so strong and steadfast.

Mickey’s passing has been a shock to all of us, particularly because of the accidental circumstances. We have been made aware that the future has a way of arriving unannounced. This is yet another instance where the moment may be temporary but the memory is forever. There are some people whose lives give themselves to memory. Mickey is one of those people.

We send to Sue, Sam and Rebecca our heartfelt thoughts and condolences, and, of course, our love.

Au revoir, dear friend.

John Spencer.


Managed by a ThriveWP care plan. ❤️