The East versus West York Origin game, known as ‘Yorigin’, has been judged such a success that plans are afoot for it to become an annual event.
The game, played between two selections drawn from the east and west of the city respectively, attracted a crowd of over 1000 on Bank Holiday Tuesday last week.
The event, held at York RUFC’s Clifton Park ground, was arranged to commemorate former York rugby league stalwarts Stuart and Jackie Evans, following the former’s death last month.
Stuart Evans was a well-known figure in local RL, being a long-serving match official, administrator and York City Knights historian.
Players from York Acorn and York Lokomotive, from the west side of the River Ouse, went up against their counterparts from Heworth and New Earswick All Blacks from the east bank. Selby Warriors players also were selected from the east.
The Wests won 22-20, in an exciting match, enjoyed by the spectators.
Acorn coach Leigh Paul-Rientoul, who coached the Wests, believes that the match will provide a launching pad for a reinvigoration of rugby league in York.
“Everyone’s thinking of making it an annual thing now,” he said.
“Everything ran smoothly, especially considering how quickly it all came about. We’ll have more time to plan and arrange it next year.
“We’re trying to get York & District ARL back up and running with a representative side. This game could act as a trial game, as well as being a ‘Yorigin’ contest between East and West.
“The game itself was a real competitive game, as the scoreline suggests.
“We started off a bit shakily but we ran away a bit to go 18-4 up. If I’m being honest, we were massive favourites and I thought we were cruising. But then they just came back.
“It was a great game. If we’re going to make it a yearly thing, then it’s good to think they’ll be close and competitive.
“It was spot on. Everyone’s off work and everyone came to enjoy it. There were lots of kids there with people treating it as a family day, having a beer and relaxing.
“There were about 1,000-plus people there we think. We haven’t got the figures added up yet as to how much it raised for charity but we think it’s in the region of several thousand pounds.
“My phone after it finished was going non-stop with people saying what a brilliant day it was and that they couldn’t believe we’d put it together in such short time.”