A NEW rugby league football club has been launched in Ashington with the town’s heritage at the heart of its name.
Special guests were invited to the launch of Miners RLFC at Woodhorn Museum, with Wansbeck MP and former miner Ian Lavery handing over shirts to the players.
Also in attendance was Peter McNestry, chairman of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, and John Freeman, retired coal mine manager from the South East Northumberland Coalfields.
The Miners RL playing kit will bear the names of the 70 collieries nationalised in 1947 – none of which exist today.
There is also a tribute to the miners that have lost their lives in the industry.
The club played their first ever game at Shildon where they faced Durham Tigers in the Selby District Cup, winning 50-40.
Officials have ambitious plans to develop the club, aiming to run junior teams from under-8s all the way up to open age and achieve Clubmark status.
Club chairman Trevor Murdie said: “We have worked continuously to bring the club to fruition and with the support from in particular The Coalfields Regeneration Trust along with Wansbeck CVS and Arriva Northumbria, we have the necessary funding available to train coaches for the next generation of players.
“The club is forging dynamic links with Featherstone Rovers RLFC in West Yorkshire, who were immediate with their support of our project.”
Paul Taylor, commercial manager of Featherstone Rovers, said: “We saw the news that Miners RL had formed and were honoured they had chosen our traditional colours.”
Mr Lavery said: “It was 1895 when the rugby league formed and it has taken 117 years to reach Ashington.
“With the hard work done by the club so far and the recognition of the work that Peter McNestry and The Coalfields Regeneration Trust have given, I wish the club every success.”
Miners RL will play their home fixtures at Ashington High School Sports College, Green Lane, Ashington.
For more information about the new club, who will be playing in the North East Regional League, visit www.minersrl.co.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org