ASHINGTON are on the look-out for new players, coaches and volunteers following the formation of the most northerly rugby league team in England.
The new club, Miners RL, will compete in the North East Regional League, their name paying tribute to the rich mining heritage of the Northumberland town.
Miners RL chairman Trevor Murdie said: “The club have been formed to bring rugby league to the communities of South East Northumberland.
“The title represents the communities in this area which were heavily dependent on coal mining.
“Ashington in its present form only exists because of the community which developed around the coal mine.
“We would like to bring back to our community a sport which has not been tried, as far as I am aware, and let us not forget the roots of rugby league and the formation of the Northern Union in 1895 when the working classes requested broken time payments to enable them to play the game.”
Murdie added: “We have worked continuously to bring the club to fruition and have only in the past few days received grants from Arriva PLC and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, which will be enough to purchase necessary equipment to get us started.
“We will also use the money to train and qualify coaches so that we can tap into the local junior playing resource, both in Ashington and Blyth.”
Sporting a familiar-looking kit, the chairman said: “Our shirt is based on the colours of Featherstone Rovers, not by any allegiance but on the basis Featherstone was a mining community like us and also suffered because of the closure of the mines.
“In homage to the mines, nationalised by National Coal Board in 1947, the shirt bears the name of each of the 70 Northumberland collieries which were part of that programme.
“We will also pay our respect to each miner who lost his life in the coalfields, and especially to the miners who gave their lives in the New Hartley Pit Disaster 150 years ago this year.
“Those who lost their lives in the disaster of 1862 left a legacy for which all who work below ground will be forever grateful.”
Training for the new season starts on Wednesday, March 28 at Ashington High School.
Prospective players, coaches and volunteers can get further information by logging on to www.minersrl.co.uk.
BILLINGHAM RFC is the host venue tomorrow night as a Durham County President’s Development XV takes on a Northumberland President’s Development XV. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.