Groundsman Gary Scott has marked out the pitch – as he always does – in preparation for Newsome Panthers’ game at the weekend.

But for Saturday’s play-off semi-final against Odsal Sedburgh, Gary has paid a special tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by re-creating the Queen’s cypher EIIR, Elizabeth II Regina, in the centre of the Hall Bower pitch.

The symbol is so large it can be seen from the top of Castle Hill.

Panthers head coach Ritchie Hawkyard believes the cypher is a fitting tribute and an inspiration to the players as they go into a series of matches which could see them lift two more trophies to add to the three they’ve already won this season.

Hawkyard said: “I have known Gary a lot of years and he’s a good friend of mine. He said he’d like to do the Queen’s cypher on our pitch and I thought it was a great idea. It shows our respect towards her and we’ll be doing a minute’s silence this weekend before our semi-final game.

“There is a lot of respect amongst the lads for the Queen and so we’ll be paying our respects this weekend.”

Already this season Newsome have won the Holliday Cup, the League Leader’s Shield and the Yorkshire Men’s Rugby League Trophy. Now they are hoping to add to that a League Grand Final cup and also the Supplementary Cup.

The Panthers play in the semi-final of the league play-offs at home to Odsal on Saturday. They have just narrowly beaten the same opponent in their last regular league game and so Hawkyard will be hoping for a repeat so they can progress through to the final.

Then they will either face Wibsey Warriors or Ossett Tigers. The final will be played on October 1 at Batley Bulldogs’ Mount Pleasant stadium.

A week later the club’s second team will play Emley for the chance to win the Supplementary Cup at Underbank Rangers’ ground on October 8.

Newsome Panthers

On trying to reach both finals Hawkyard said: “We are very excited to play Odsal this Saturday and hopefully if we win we’ll get through to another final. Ossett will be favourites to win the other semi-final but whoever we face it’ll be a tough game.

“We are delighted to have gone the whole season unbeaten and to pick up the League Leader’s Shield is great. We aimed to get promotion; it’s something we were confident in getting.

“We want to win all five trophies. We went unbeaten last year and we are looking to do that again. A double invincible season isn’t bad in my book!

“We hope as many people as possible can come down on Saturday to support the lads.”

The game kicks off at 2.30pm.