New trophy named in recognition of Ray French

Drew Darbyshire

In recognition of his outstanding service to rugby league, the man of the match in the 1895 Cup final will receive the Ray French Award.

The inaugural 1895 Cup final between Sheffield and Widnes will be played after the Challenge Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, August 24.

The man of the match trophy has been named after French following a poll on the Our League app, with French reaping in more than 60% of the votes.

The Ray French Award will be chosen by supporters via another Our League poll conducted during the match.

He was a Wembley winner with his hometown club St Helens against Wigan in 1966, and went on to commentate on 27 Challenge Cup finals for the BBC.

Rugby Football League chief executive, Ralph Rimmer, commented: “Naming this award after Ray French provides us with the opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution he has made to the game, at all levels.

“He is respected as a former player, and loved throughout rugby league and well beyond for providing the commentary to so many great Wembley moments.

“That stature has been confirmed by the Our League members in this poll, and I’m sure the announcement of this award will be warmly welcomed by the Rugby League family.

“It will be a pleasure as always to welcome Ray at Wembley, and to see him presenting the player of the match in the first 1895 Cup Final – with an award named in his honour.”

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