1989 is a year that will never be forgotten at Crosfields ARLFC.

It was the year the men from Great Sankey thrust themselves onto the national stage and earned the chance to mix it with professional clubs.

Bringing home the BARLA National Cup earned them entry into the following season’s Regal Trophy – the only occasion a Warrington amateur club featured in the now-defunct competition.

On Tuesday, it will have been exactly 30 years since they memorably faced Workington Town in front of nearly 1,000 people at Wilderspool – and came agonisingly close to causing an upset.

Mark Hickey captained the team that day and still plays for Soap’s masters team along with a couple of his teammates.

He reflected fondly upon the day his side stood toe-to-toe with the big boys.

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Crosfields go toe-to-toe with Workington Town in the Regal Trophy. Picture by Eddie Fuller

“We qualified because we’d won the National Cup, but we’d lost a number of players from that team,” he said.

“A couple of lads and the coach went to Trafford Borough and a couple more were picked up by Warrington.

“The lads who were on the fringes of the squad stepped up and it was a nice reward for them.

“We had experience of playing against professional ‘A’ sides in the Lancashire Shield but this was a bit of a step up.

“We may only have been amateurs but we had them struggling for a while.”

For Hickey himself, the game proved somewhat of a vindication.

After featuring in Soap’s run to the National Cup Final, he was then left out of the team that beat Cumbrian side Kells to take the trophy home.

The chance to lead out the club he had played for his whole life on the pitch of hometown club, however, proved a suitable consolation prize.

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More match action. Pictures by Eddie Fuller

“It made up for not playing in the National Cup final,” he said.

“I was proud captaining the team on the pitch of the team I’d supported all my life, where heroes had been made so to speak. It was a very good day for all of us.

“I’ve watched the video back since and I’m not sure it reflects how quick the game seemed to go.

“We made a whole day of it – the Lord Daresbury pub put on a team breakfast for us.

“They made a bit of a fuss of us, which was a change from eating junk before a game!”

Indeed, by the time the match came around, Crosfields were the town’s last remaining team in the competition – Brian Johnson’s Warrington side had been eliminated by Sheffield Eagles 11 days earlier, a year before they won the trophy for the fourth and final time.

It soon became apparent that the Soapmen were not going to be the pushovers Workington were expecting.

Kevin McCarthy – described in the match programme as one of the fastest prop forwards in the amateur game – even touched down to give the Warringtonians an unexpected lead.

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Kevin McCarthy scores Crosfields' opening try. Pictures by Eddie Fuller

The game was deadlocked at 8-8 at half time before Workington eventually emerged 19-14 winners.

Hickey played at loose forward and earned himself a painful souvenir – not that it was ever going to stop him.

“I got injured and dislocated my finger but finished the game. I had to have it wired up after the game,” he said.

“We did really well and got in front early on.

“I think we could have won it but we had a bit of bad luck. We weren’t far away from them at all.

“You only have to look at the amateur game now and in one-off games, they are taking more professional sides quite close in the Challenge Cup.

“It was still winter rugby at that time, so a bit of mud and rain was a great leveller.

“The ‘A’ team games were a step up from the usual and this was a step up again. They thought quicker than us so you had to be on the ball.

“I think the professionalism won Workington that game – they obviously trained full-time while we only had two nights a week.

“We did well considering we lost our coach and a few key players. The lads who stepped in did really well."

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More match action. Pictures by Eddie Fuller

To mark the anniversary, Crosfields will host a screening of the game at Hood Lane.

The club will be showing the match in the Hood Lane clubhouse from 2.30pm on Saturday, with everyone welcome to attend and watch a significant moment in the history of amateur rugby league in Warrington.