Thursday, 18 January 2018

Sunday's Coming. And Hornets Lose a Legend.

Sunday sees North Wales Crusaders come to Spotland, for a game that will play with your mind.

Coached by former Hornet - and all-round RL nice guy Mike Grady - and… er… former Hornet Jonny Leather, the Crusaders squad has an eerily familiar look to it.

With a Cru’ team containing former Hornets Steve Roper, Dale Bloomfield, Ryan Smith, James Dandy, Joe Bate, Jordan Case, Alex Trumper and Woz Thompson, it promises to be an interesting ‘reunion’ for Grady’s new-look North Wales.

Speaking on this week, Grady said of what will be his side’s first hit-out of the year: “I’m expecting a really tough test – but that’s just what you want. Whilst it is a friendly, there’s a few lads on either side who have switched clubs, and there’s also a bit of a rivalry between the two sides, so that adds to what promises to be a great match.”

Indeed, previous encounters with Crusaders have been a bit on the feisty side - the last ditch win at Cefn Druids a couple of years ago a particularly spicy favourite of ours. The winning try that day was scored by Dale Bloomfield, who on Sunday lines up for North Wales against his opponent from that game Rob Massam.

Ray Myers - forever a champion: “I am still on cloud nine,
who said dreams don't come true? It was a perfect day”
Whilst Sunday’s game promises to be interesting on lots of fronts, there really is only one story this week - and that’s the passing of one of the club’s senior statesmen, Ray Myers.

Ray first went to the Athletic Grounds aged eight - and by his own admission he wasn’t impressed. Five years later - in 1953 - he was persuaded to try again - on the promise of seeing  “a player so fast he could catch pigeons” - Wally McArthur.

This time Ray was impressed enough to stay - for 65 years: spending 36 of those as club timekeeper, retiring after our Grand Final win in 2013. In recognition of his service, Ray was awarded honorary life membership of the club and in 2013 was inducted into the ‘Heroes of Hornets’.

Respected throughout the game as a true ambassador for Rochdale Hornets, Ray’s commitment to the cause was revealed early on, when he quit his first job at Bateson’s Hardware shop in Rochdale because he had to work on Saturdays - which clashed with Hornets matches.

A Hornet to his core,  Ray will be remembered by all who met him for the love of his club, his encyclopaedic knowledge of Rugby League, the warmth of his handshake and his seemingly bottomless repertoire of jokes.

Our thoughts are with Ena, family and friends.