KELLY’S EYE: Rugby league is coming to Hartlepool – in pink socks

BBOB V South Tyneside College at Durham.
BBOB V South Tyneside College at Durham.

IT tales a hard bunch of fellas to take to the field in pink socks.

Especially when the team name has West View in the name!

But that is exactly the Saturday scenario for Hartlepool’s latest attempt at amateur rugby league.

League has hardly taken hold in the town – far from it in fact – even though if you asked many union people they would say it’s quite an exciting spectacle.

Hartlepool had the Volunteer Arms in the late 1980s, a largely Tech-based side under the control of legendary Athletic prop and Park Hotel doorman, Bob “Pedro” Palmer.

They played out of the now sadly deceased Church Street boozer, the Volleys.

Back then there were lots of (hungover) Sunday morning trips to Yorkshire.

More recently, in 2009, there was another attempt at Tech, but lack of numbers ended that venture.

But rugby league has been kept alive here by the considerable, yet delightful, figure of Jonathan Norris at Hartlepool’s Mayfield Park.

And there are no problems with enthusiasm or numbers or local games, only the socks.

Nogga, an excellent prop with both Hartlepool and West until injury forced him to retire, is happy with the start to the season.

He has a diverse bunch of characters from a variety of local union clubs and things are going well

“There’s generally a lot of good banter floating about,” said Nogga.

“There isn’t a doubt in my mind that’s why our numbers have almost doubled at training.

“The way things are going we have to aim for first in the league and a top eight finish in the North East Rugby League Cup whre we will be competing against from the Premier down.”

You can get the chance to see WVW in action against CRamlington Rockets this Sunday at Mayfield Park (Kick-off 11am)

It is too good a chance to miss.

THE surest thing in life, sadly, is that we all have to go sometime.

But the last few weeks, sport and life have lost a number of wonderful people and it has been quite upsetting writing about the likes of Barry “Tizza” Taylor and Bob Bateman.

Then on Saturday comes the bad news that John Breward had died.

A former commercial manager at Pools, John was a universally popular man, a funny man and a warm man.

Many will remember John fondly for his double act with the late, great Frankie Baggs.

Kelly’s Eye remembers the time the BBC sent a film crew down to Victoria Park after the completion of the Cyril Knowles Stand and other ground improvements.

They joked to the young lady reporter that the Vic was modelled on the San Siro/ Bernebeu/ No Camp.

And sure enough on Look North that night, the reporter dutifully relayed that gem to the North East of England.

John was a funny man in his own right.

But, as mentioned a lined or two ago, he was a tremendous human being.

We bumped into each other at the General in the summer of 2012. My mam was poorly in intensive care and John was there because he was told if he did not mend his ways and reduce his alcohol intake he’d not have long left.

I’m pleased to say that John extended his life by 11 years and we are all grateful for that.

Kelly’s Eye spoke to Chris Turner on Saturday night and the former Pools boss described him as a “legend” and someone he “loved to bits”.

I think Chris spoke for thousands of people with those words.

Talking of Breward and Turner in the same sentence takes me back to Hartlepool United’s pre-season tour to Norway in 2001.

John was in charge of the trip ... or at least said he was (he did have control of the company credit card!).

On the last night of the tour, players, management, supporters and media shared a few beers and we all ended up in a nightclub called Ogla.

It made the Gem look like the Ritz and 42nd Street look like Stringfellows.

But John led from the front and entertained the gang. A great man, a legend, God bless him.

TWO matches, two tries.

Kelly’s Eye thinks Durham’s rugby bosses may need to alter their selection policy.

Elliott Husband maintained his 100 per cent record for the county on Saturday.

Unfortunately, his try was only a consolation as Durham were beaten 20-5 by Yorkshire at Scarborough and were, consequently, relegated from the First Division of the Billy Beaumont Cup.

Elliott has featured on this page before after what can only be labelled a dream debut.

As a 17-year-old back in 2011, the Hartlepool Sixth Form College student had never even played an adult game of rugby when he came on late in the day for Durham in their County Championship match with Eastern Counties.

And the Billingham teenager dashed over to score a try at the Friarage with his first touch!

It had been an inspired hunch from Durham player-coach Chris Hyndman who knew Elliott from both Billingham and Brinkburn and thought he’d handle himself OK as a sub for the county after a player cried off late on Friday night.

Clearly, Elliott continues to handle himself well, Perhaps he is now worth a start?

POOR Kelly took a bit of ribbing on Twitter last week in the aftermath of Boys Brigade Old Boys’ Durham Trophy win over South Tyneside College.

It was along the lines of half a page on Gareth Foreman and three lines on the rest.

There was good reason for that, but I’d prefer cash next time Gareth, rather than a cheque.

Foreman was the star, with three of the five tries, not to mention a couple of last-ditch try-saving tackles at the other end.

But it was a team effort - all the match-day squad featured - and a very notable win considering a number of injuries and other absences, with Mark Craggs, Shaune Howe, Andrew Lilley and Matty Thornton just four players who were ruled out.

And it was a great night for the club’s old timers – and there were plenty of them at Hollow Drift, to offer their noisy support and some advice to the match officials.

No-one was prouder than Keith Hetherington, who had played in the last BBOB side who won the Durham Trophy 29 years earlier.

He was at Durham City where he watched his two boys, Dave and Jonny, end the wait for another cup triumph.

Foreman produced a sumptuous performance but my moment of the match came when prop Andrew Graham went from 0-60 in a few seconds.

He impressively gave chase to a BBOB attack and when the full-back took the liberty in trying to run around Tottsy he was felled in no uncertain manner.

Poor Andrew though was penalised for not rolling away.

For one good reason, he was shattered after his 20-metre dash. No surprise really as Usain Bolt would not have caught him.