CRAIG FARRELL’S COLUMN - Vocal support has boosted the Pirates

Scarborough Pirates have had healthy crowds this season
Scarborough Pirates have had healthy crowds this season

This Saturday sees newly crowned Yorkshire Mens Group Four champions Scarborough Pirates entertain Myton Warriors in their final home game of the season.

The Pirates currently have an unbeaten record of 10 victories from 10 matches and will be desperately looking to maintain that record on Saturday as they attempt to complete the ‘perfect’ season, with just two games remaining.

It is hoped a large crowd will be in attendance to celebrate the Pirates’ achievements and create a party atmosphere throughout the game and for the presentation of the Group Four trophy at the end of the match.

The large numbers of the Pirates’ faithful have been an integral part of their success this season, frequently spurring them into action with their vociferous support throughout each game.

At this level of sport spectators can often be few and far between, as has been the case during the Pirates’ away matches, with generally only a handful of people in attendance.

The Pirates, however, have easily been the best supported team of the year, with 200-300 fans regularly being welcomed by Dave Atkinson and his staff at Eastway Sports and Social Club for each home match, creating an intense atmosphere of support for the Pirates that has played its part in a number of close victories and should not be underestimated in its importance.

The loud cheers from the crowd when Jack Johnson puts in a monster hit, or when Tom Ratcliffe dances through the defence on one of his trademark long-range efforts, or when Jamie Broadmore skittles several defenders on a typical bullocking carry really do inspire the Pirates’ players to perform at a higher level, and on behalf of the Pirates’ squad I would like to publically thank all those who have attended matches this year to show their support in typically vocal fashion.

And despite having tied up the Yorkshire Mens Group Four title the Pirates will need their fans more than ever on Saturday as Myton Warriors are sure to provide the sternest of tests, having defeated Scarborough Pirates A team 74-0 at the end of June and having only lost one game all season.

Kick-off is 2:30pm at Eastway Sports and Social Club and your attendance and support is most welcome and appreciated, it is also especially needed this week for reasons which I will now move on to.

During a recent match against Holderness Vikings on July 28, a Vikings’ player, Ben Bilaney, suffered a sickening injury when he sustained a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula during an innocuous looking tackle.

Since the accident, however, Ben has suffered some complications, contracting pneumonia and a blood clot on the lung and is receiving treatment in the intensive care unit at Hull Royal Infirmary.

Keen to aid Ben, Scarborough Pirates’ committee, headed by Dave Marsden, have proposed that they donate all programme and raffle sales on Saturday to raise funds for Ben.

They have also provided a signed referees shirt by Steve Ganson as a raffle prize or auction item, having paid £170 for it at a sportsman’s dinner last year.

These gestures demonstrate perfectly the spirit of goodwill and community that is part of rugby league’s DNA.

Nobody wants to see another player suffer such a serious injury on the field of play and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Ben a speedy recovery.

I hope to see you Saturday.