Huddersfield Rugby League Masters could have finally found their forever home at Newsome.
Matt Oldfield, who runs the club, believes they may just have found a more permanent base after being nomads since the club was formed seven years ago.
Matt, 43, helped set up the club with former Fartown player Tony Johnstone. However Matt took over the running of it three years ago with Tony taking a back seat. Matt insists the dream for the club has always been to have a clubhouse which they can call home.
He said: “When we first started out we were called Huddersfield ex-players. I rebranded us as Huddersfield RL Masters. We played in Fartown but we’ve always been a bit nomadic.
“This year we are playing out of Newsome Panthers. Hopefully, if nothing goes wrong, we’d like to stay there.
“I have been looking to get us a more permanent base since I took over three years ago. I want us to have a forever home.”
Even though the Masters club is now based in Newsome, Matt is adamant the clubs will retain their own separate identities.
He added: “We are getting on great with the Panthers. They have a thriving junior section and they are a big club really. Even though we are based at Newsome we’ll still be called Huddersfield.”
The Masters version of Rugby League was developed and founded in 1992 in New Zealand.
A group of Auckland Rugby League clubs met with the goal of encouraging former players to come back into clubs. The aim was simple, to get the older players back playing. The laws of Rugby League had to by modified to accommodate the players with “older bones.”
The over-35 game soon spread to England and now there are over 60 clubs playing the sport with numbers rising all the time.
The way the sport works is quite simple. Depending on your age you have to wear a specific colour of shorts. See our helpful graphic below.
Masters games are shorter than a normal match. They usually last between 60-70 minutes whereas a normal game lasts 80 minutes. Also unlike a professional game which has two halves of play, Masters rugby can be split into three ‘halves.’
“Masters RL is not about being competitive,” said Matt. “It’s not about who wins and who doesn’t. Every game ends in a 0-0 scoreline and it’s about people just playing the game and enjoying it.
“Clubs just arrange their own fixtures depending on how many the lads want to play. It’s not like white shorts play white shorts, the games are all mixed. You just have to keep an eye on the colour of the shorts of the person running towards you so you can determine what you are allowed to do.”
Matt, who lives in Newsome, has played the game since being a teenager. He loves the sport and next year is hopefully going to represent his country in the inaugural Tri Nations round robin when England face Ireland and Wales in Masters rugby.
He said: “I have played rugby since the age of 13 in the local Huddersfield leagues. I always knew there would be a point where I needed to retire. However Masters Rugby gave me a chance to keep playing the sport I love.
“I was supposed to play for England in these games last year. However they got cancelled due to Covid. They have re-scheduled the games for next year in May.
“The games will be played all on one day and it’ll be really fun. I’ll be proud to represent my country.”
Huddersfield also have a player, Steve Hutton, who represents the club at county level. Steve is still waiting for confirmation of when the Yorkshire v Lancashire game will take place.
Having taken the club from strength to strength, Matt wanted to thank one person in particular. He is Andrew ‘Spike’ Maguire, who helps Matt to make sure everything is run smoothly.
Matt said: “Andrew is a great help, he’s played at a good level. He’s a man I’m very pleased to have at my right hand side.”
Matt and Andrew have been hard at work getting ready for the upcoming season. They now have 27 players signed up to play. The new campaign kicks off on Sunday when they play Siddal at Newsome in a 1.30pm kick off.
On the game Matt said: “We’ve had a couple of training sessions and all the lads are excited to get back to playing on Sunday. We are allowing supporters to come in and watch and it’s free of charge.”
Finally, Matt wanted to thank all the people who sponsor the club.
He said: “We have a number of sponsors who are just fantastic and really do help to keep the club going. We, as a club, can’t thank them enough.”
Anyone who wants to join Huddersfield Masters can e-mail: email@example.com or ring 07838 771002