16th November 2015

London Skolars celebrated their 20th anniversary with a dinner at a central London hotel on the eve of the Second Test between England and New Zealand.

Players, officials and supporters from the club’s earliest days up to the present time, enjoyed a convivial evening of reminiscences, tales and chatter.

Chairman Hector McNeil, who has been with the club from the start, talked about the difficult times, turning professional and the efforts to move the club forward.

Answering a question about the future, he said, “The aim is to become a Championship side.

The Guest of Honour was Wigan director and former Warriors and England full-back Kris Radlinski.

The Warriors have set up an office in the capital and are keen to keep a presence and do things to assist rugby league in the capital. “There are so many fantastic athletes in London. Maybe we can some of them playing rugby league,” he said.

Radlinski talked about the player who influenced his career most and it was Adrian Lam, the New Zealander who played for Wigan from 2001 to 2004.

He recalled afternoons spent on a trampoline, and said “Adrian made me think about the game in a whole new way.”

To celebrate 20 years, the Skolars have instituted a Hall of Fame and announced the first two inductees. Six men were shortlisted – all former players – Austen Aggrey, Bobby Brown, Gareth Honor, Charlie Oyabade, Rubert Jonker and Paul Thorman.

Originally, it was going only a single person inducted, but two candidates received an almost identical number of votes so the inaugural class comprises Aggrey and Brown.

Aggrey is the club’s all-time leading try scorer in the professional era with 57 tries in 179 games. He began his career as a winger, but finished as a barnstorming prop, one whose turn of pace certainly reminded people of his wing days. He rarely attends games as he now lives in Belgium working for a large retail chain.

Brown is one of the oldest men ever to make his professional rugby league debut, achieving the feat at the age of 41. It was his fault, really, as he went to watch the Skolars playing in their first season – at Workington, so quite a leap of faith. One thing led to another and Bobby found himself in the squad. Since finally hanging up his boots, he has worked tirelessly with the junior section, bringing on the next generation of Skolars.


By David Ballheimer

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