Rugby League nostalgia comes to mining museum

OPPOSING captains Alan Hardisty (Castleford, right)) and Neil Fox (Wakefield Trinity) in action in a 1969 derby match.
OPPOSING captains Alan Hardisty (Castleford, right)) and Neil Fox (Wakefield Trinity) in action in a 1969 derby match.

A treasure trove of Rugby League artefacts will go on display at the National Coal Mining Museum next month.

Rugby League Heritage on Tour will be at the museum on New Road, Overton from August 1 to 21.

The special exhibition by Rugby League Cares will feature images from the collection of Sky Sports pundit Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson.

The display delves into the origins of the sport, from its birth in Huddersfield to its split from the Rugby Union. It also highlights the links between Rugby League and coal mining.

The sport will also celebrate its 120th anniversary next month,

The exhibition includes an impressive collection of memorabilia from Brian Bevan’s boots to the ball from the 1954 Challenge Cup Replay Final. Alongside the display, visitors will be able to watch footage of key games.

It also explores a range of other themes such as the World Cup, Rugby League abroad, the banning of the game in Vichy France, Rugby League fans and equality, including the first female and black players.

The opening of the exhibition will be presented by former Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe, Rugby League’s all-time record scorer Neil Fox, and Professor Tony Collins.

Mr Hinchliffe is a lifelong Trinity fan and has authored They Walked on Water about the 1968 water-splash cup final.

Neil Fox had two long stints at Trinity, while Prof Collins is one of the country’s premier sports’ historians.

Darran Crowd, collections’ officer at the museum, said: “The links between coal mining and sport are many and varied, from amateur teams playing at the local colliery sports ground through to Olympic and Para-Olympic athletes employed by the National Coal Board. The National Coal Mining Museum for England’s historic collection reflects a number of these sports, football, boxing, cricket, athletics, swimming…the list goes on. The Museum is proud to be a partner of Rugby League Cares, uniting the history of coal mining and Rugby League. If you have a story or an object that unites mining and rugby, the museum would like to hear from you.”

Ring him on 01924 848806.