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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Remembering great ding-dong West Cumbrian derby battles

“Everybody lived for the ‘derby games’, even though it was dog eat dog on the pitch it was good mates and a pint once the hooter went.”“Once at The Recre (playing for Town) I had a bust up with John Routledge, an early bath for me and, as I walked off, Routy was laughing; next minute he was behind me in the changing rooms, sent off as well. “I loved playing with all those Kiwis – Clayton, Gus Maliatoa-Brown, big Sos Muliumu, Aaron Lester, Fats, Leroy Joe and before that powerhouse Reg Dunn who always seemed to turn it on in the local derby against Town but, like me, didn’t like training much. I was always looking to hide and have the laugh.” “Some fans still come up to me in the street today and talk about the Good Friday at Derwent Park when I pulled off an interception to score the match-winning try. “Town were one of the top sides so you can imagine what it was like coming up against Archer, Roper, Southward, Edgar and all that lot.

“It was always a battle out there but the good thing was that we were sharing a few pints afterwards.”

“I knew I was going to score as soon as I touched the ball and punched the air for the crowd as I went over. Some called it The Hand of God, it was sweet to do it against Town.”

“Then there was also Ike’s centre partner, “Loppy” O’Neill. How on earth did he get that nick-name? Same goes for Bill Holliday who left Wath Brow for Whitehaven just before me. I still don’t know how he got “Happy”?”

This season’s derby clash, now scheduled for January 15, will be at Derwent Park.

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