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Bank Quay Bulls win shield on memorial day for Alan 'Bundy' Clare
BANK Quay Bulls lifted one of the two trophies on offer during Saturday’s memorial day for Alan ‘Bundy’ Clare.
After a plaque in honour of the former Bulls player was unveiled at the new clubhouse in Dallam, the Memorial Shield was won courtesy of an 18-6 success against Rylands.
In the second game the Memorial Cup headed Blackbrook’s way with a 12-2 triumph.
It is now being planned for the silverware to be up for grabs in annual pre-season matches in memory of a player who had been pulling on Bulls shirts for 15 years.
Bundy died, aged 34, in Spain on September 6 and it was a mark of his popularity when teammates and friends raised more than £22,000 to bring him home, as he had travelled without insurance.
Now his plaque, sited on a wall close to the changing rooms and unveiled in a ceremony attended by members of his family, looks out over the playing fields in Dallam Lane, where his grunt and graft in some beefy packs had helped Bulls achieve some rich rewards in league and cup competitions.
The memorial day inspired some to play a match for the first time, while there were also former teammates taking to the field having gained loans for the day from other clubs.
Atrocious weather conditions were always going to affect the quality of play - and arguably pushed the pitch’s limits to stage two matches - but while closing in on Bundy’s 35th birthday and the start of the new league campaign there were 42 Bulls players determined to get stuck in, and their opponents were just as keen!
The first game, billed as Bank Quay Bulls A versus Rylands Sharks, featured a mix of ex-players, veterans and under 18s in both sides.
Torrential rain hammered the players and spectators but Bank Quay managed to apply pressure for the opening try after 15 minutes.
Good handling down the left-hand side allowed Byrne to cross by the corner flag.
As conditions worsened it became a bit of an arm wrestle in the middle.
Rylands forced two repeat sets only to then lose possession going over the try line.
Bulls made them pay, quickly reaching the other end where a try from Gahgan made it 8-0 at half time.
Rylands got over the whitewash 10 minutes into the second half and Bulls had a score ruled out for a forward pass.
But the home side were not to be denied and, after a barnstorming run from Bailey, Lawton went over for a converted try.
A few minutes later Whaley went over to wrap up the scoring.
The follow-on game with Blackbrook was in doubt but after a lengthy delay and a break from the rain a decision was taken to go ahead.
A knock-on straight from kick off gifted Bank Quay early possession and a well-worked move saw Smith go over in the corner, only for the pass to be ruled forward.
More pressure on the Blackbrook line led to a high shot on Nick Braide, with Anthony Braide kicking the resulting penalty.
That, though, was to be the first and only points from Bank Quay.
Nick Braide lost the ball over the line as one try went begging, and Bulls had another ruled out.
The two tries that did count, either side of the interval, came from the St Helens team.