Anniversary Series – Part 5

19th January 2021

Photo taken by: Martin Snell

In recent years, mid-January would mean the Capital Challenge and the start of the Challenge Cup for the community clubs. In the club’s early years, the early rounds of the Challenge Cup, with the Final being held at Wembley in early May. Less than three months after their first game, the Student Rugby League Old Boys had qualified for the 1995/96 Challenge Cup as a result of reaching the Southern Counties Cup Final with a chance to play against a professional club if they progressed to the 3rd round.

They were drawn to play away against York based amateur club Heworth. League Express described the side’s first half performance as “terrific”, trailing just 8-0. However, a fitter and more experienced Heworth side pulled away in the second half before a consolation try for scrum-half
Tony Whitty, converted by centre Mike Morgan, the final score being 34-6.
League Express included the action picture below in their coverage and the squad photo is the first one we know of with the club in what became their traditional red and black shirts.

Amazing, the following season saw them again drawn to travel to Heworth. This time the first half was even closer, with the Old Boys going in 6-4 down at half-time, with their points coming from a Charlie Oyebade try. Hakeem Ashorobi touched down in the second half, but Heworth held out for a
12-8 win.

The side that day was:
1 Paul Wood
2 Charlie Oyebade
3 Jason Morris
4 Bobby Brown
5 Hakeem Ashorobi
6 Aaron Scott
7 Kain Young
8 Martin Smith
9 Abe Kerr
10 Paul Blazdale
11 Anton Verryt
12 Aidy Paul
13 Ian Taylor
14 Lee Jones
15 Chris Tait
16 Hector McNeil
17 Rob Vincent

League Express’ Martyn Sadler commented in the match report. “The Old Boys desperately need to be in a league where they will have matches like this. Perhaps it will be the Conference, or perhaps in the elite Southern League which some people would like to see come about.
The inability of RL, with its ludicrous split between Amateurs and Professionals, to help clubs like this release their potential is scandalous.”
Six months later that Southern League had started, with the club taking a big role in its creation. By the autumn of 1997, the club had also joined the National Conference League referred to by Sadler.

That gave them an automatic spot in the 1997/98 Challenge Cup. Another away draw and another narrow defeat, this time falling 12-10 to Myton Warriors. Skolars took an early lead after cut out pass from Alfie Petelo to Jim Pashley. Mike Perring’s intercept and ninety meter run to the line was
disallowed for obstruction by Andy Hirst in support. Two tries followed for Hull-based Myton before Ant Bennett fed Ashorobi to close the gap, but a first Challenge Cup win still eluded the club.

League Express Cutting

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