Birstall Victoria set to mark 40th anniversary milestone

Birstall Victorias open age team, who are top of Yorkshire Mens League Division Four.
Birstall Victorias open age team, who are top of Yorkshire Mens League Division Four.
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Birstall Victoria ARLFC are gearing up to celebrate their 40th anniversary with a gala dinner at the Village Hotel in Tingley on October 29.

The club was formed at The Victoria Hotel in Carlinghow in 1976, and now boasts an open age side, along with several junior and youth teams.

Regulars from the Victoria pub, along with local lads who worked at the then Silver Paints and Lacquer factory (SPL) and other local firms got together to form the club, under the Batley Victoria name.

The team soon became well established and within three years began to compete at a good standard.

The first recorded photo of the team was taken in 1977-78 and includes current Batley Bulldogs chairman Kevin Nicholas and groundsman Jim Morley in a side coached by Alex Roper and organised by the first club secretary Andy Walsh.

The club has had many great coaches over the years including Graham Bell, Dave Busfield, Steve Halloran, Chris Halloran, Martin Crick, John Senior, John Carrol, Benny Kane, Neil Kellett, Mick Sheard, Mark Scott, John Stainburn, Iain McCabe, Craig Stevens, Dave Tomlinson,Matt Gowland and Brendan Sheridan, all giving great service to the Vic .

Countless players have graced the Vic shirt over the years including some who have gone on to have great careers in professional rugby league.

Ex pros have also enjoyed seeing out their playing days with the club, while many passionate amateurs have been happy to play the game and share a pint together after battle

The club moved base to Birstall several years ago, when the Victoria Hotel ran into lean times in the late 1990s.

Ten years ago, through the hard work of former Vic players Paul Frain, Leon Crick and Steve Ewen, the first junior side was formed.

The club has gone from strength to strength in the last decade, with hard work and dedication by everyone in the club.

The Vic now boasts a tots section along with junior teams at Under-7s, Under-8s, Under-9s, Under-10s, Under-11s, Under-14s and youth rugby at Under-17s.

The Vic are currently top of the Yorkshire Men’s League Division Four, aiming to capture the league title and promotion to the top flight to kick start their 40th anniversary celebrations in style.

The Vic will mark their anniversary with a black and red ball at the Village Hotel on October 29.

The club are inviting all past and present players, committee and spectators to join the celebration with former coaches.

Tickets for the evening, which includes a three course meal and entertainment, are available from Watsons Estate Agents in Birstall, priced £25.