We would like to start by saying thank you to all that have taken the time to attend this special event. Today is about remembering those that once graced the amateur rugby league world with their skills and personalities. Both East and West of this great city has had unfortunate losses of great rugby league players, and today gives us a chance to come together as one and celebrate their lives.
Today we shall honour the lives of Lee Newton, Mark Hazel and Tim Sage with East of Hull and West of Hull playing for the inaugural East v West Memorial Trophy. Players who had the pleasure of pulling on a shirt alongside these three great guys can once again don shirts emblazoned with the club logo and their pal’s number on the back.
Everybody is more than welcome to participate in this special day and make this an event to remember and continue for years to come. We are hopeful that this event will become a yearly competition between two great rivals, however, let’s remember what the day is truly about. Eastside has witnessed some famous fixtures over the years, but for me, this is the most meaningful, and I’m sure emotions will be high, on such a special day.
Memories can only be positive when we think of these great players and what they achieved. More trophies than we care to remember have passed through their hands on the way to the trophy cabinets of such great Hull clubs.
This Rugby League Memorial Trophy is no different, and once again battle shall commence with some great legends taking part. There can only be one winner today, and that’s the guys we are remembering.
A true reflection of victory is that we had the pleasure of calling them our friends, and teammates, never shall we forget them.
We would also like to thank Rob Darcy and Dennis Butlers for sponsoring this special event.
Lee like many others spent most of his life being dedicated to family, friends, career and playing sport, in particular Rugby League for Skirlaugh. Lee enjoyed a stellar amateur Rugby League and was at the heart of what Skirlaugh achieved on the pitch during the 1990s. Playing for Skirlaugh from the age of 14 until he retired, Lee was respected through the amateur Rugby community, not just in the city of Hull but across the country.
Lee suffered more injuries than most players would care to remember but was an amazing battler and remarkably retained the unofficial title of being ‘the best looking Rugby Player of the year’ for more years than we can imagine!
Sadly, on the 20th March 2013, at the age of 42, Lee was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. The shock of the initial diagnosis was almost unbearable for Lee and his family, but as time passed he resolved to try do everything he could not just to fight this terrible disease but to help others who were suffering as he was; the L6ve Life Foundation was Lee’s idea and the fundraising efforts have seen over £200,000 raised to help those suffering from, or trying to find a cure for MND.
Lee always expressed how blessed he was to have a wonderful family, and amazing friends. His wife Caroline, daughters Hannah and Evie, family and friends were all so very supportive and remained positive to help Lee continue living life to the full.
After being diagnosed with MND you may think that his priorities would have changed, but Lee never gave up on what was important. Sadly in March 2017, Lee succumbed to this terrible disease. However his legacy will always live on through family, friends and Skirlaugh RLFC.
A True Legend of the club, who will never be forgotten.
Hard to believe that it’s been 7 years since Mark ‘Hazo’ Hazels passing and today is about remembering our friend and honouring his life.
Hazo had the ability to get where water couldn’t and a night out with Hazo would often be a riotous affair, he was an immaculate dresser, always in designer sportswear and always with a cap on his head!
Hazo developed his own dance chant and his accompanying dance moves often brought the house down. His antics often meant the then landlady at Swiss Cottage refusing to serve him his post-match food.
He also managed to leave Dave Collinson covered head to foot in treacle and feathers during one of his many stag pranks, it was all in days’ work for Hazo.
Marks bravery and character saw him fit in well at Skirlaugh, the club loved having him around and his post-training Thursday night outs often ended up ‘late ones’ and the post-match bus trips home down the M62 took on a whole new meaning when Hazo was on board.
With Hazo there were lots of scrapes, as well as lots of great times. He was an effervescent character and a fearless half back as those who played with him at Hull Colts, Arctic Ranger and Skirlaugh will testify. Mark was afraid of nobody when it came to Rugby.
As well as loving his Rugby Hazo, was hard working and loved his family. We could write all night about him but today is not about dialogue, it’s about us all remembering our pals and having a drink or two.
Sadly Hazo entered some dark times in his life, times which he was unable to recover from and in 2012 he succumbed.
Rest assured if Hazo was here today he would say stop be boring and let’s get on it, he will always be missed but never forgotten, our pal Hazo!
Also known as Saggy, Silly Timmy or just Big Nose!
Tim started playing RL at Eastfield at the age of 9, along with the likes of Paul Fletcher, Damien Brice, Richard Gay, Paddy Khan, Craig Obrien etc. This Junior side was very successful & enjoyed some healthy rivalry with the likes of Shakespeare school up to the age of 13, before moving on to Sydney Smith High school along with the vast majority of the team from Eastfield. Sydney Smith also had some fierce battles with the likes of Greatfield & Bransholme, also reaching the National schools final, only to beaten by a very strong Wigan team.
On Saggy & Clare’s wedding day it was mentioned in the Dual Best man’s speech (Fletch & Mike Edson) that though playing in some quality youth teams he never gained any representative honours & at one stage he was the only Eastfield player not to be in the Hull schools side. But this is where Saggy was different, this drove him on to get fitter & better, year on year, then it was no coincidence that after joining Eureka ARLFC, under the guidance of Dave Nicholson, Bernard Boast & the influential Jonny Whitley, along with the guidance of John Edson at Hull KR Colts, he managed to get a few trial matches in the HKR A-Team.
After impressing Rodger Millward he signed a professional contract with the Robins, even though he was a massive Hull FC supporter & played a fair few first games.
Saggy was diagnosed with a brain tumour in his late 30s and after one successful brain operation, the tumour came back with a vengeance and unfortunately, he lost his battle with it 9 years ago at the age of just 40.
To make his passing even more painful for all his family & huge circle of friends was the fact that unbeknown to many, his wife Clare was pregnant with his beautiful little daughter Hannah, whom he never got to meet.
It was then the Hull RL Family came together to produce a DIY SOS type makeover of the nursery for Hannah, including a reinstallation of a brand new Combi-Boiler, total rewire, total re-plaster, complete with new covings, skirtings, lights & decorating, etc, done by too many friends to mention. We then set up a Charity which has helped not only Hannah for later life but several other children within the Local RL family that have experienced life changing difficulties. The funds were raised by holding numerous charity events, but mainly a Fun-Filled day at YPI where Saggy’s old teammates from Eureka, Hull KR, Beverley & The GB Allstars played a Round Robin type tournament which involved some 120+ players. The event had live broadcasting from Radio Humberside and was attended by over 1000 people which was a “fitting tribute to the Big Fella!”
Silly Timmy was 6”4’ 18+ stone & a prop forward… but he was a gentleman, for whom nobody had a bad word to say and genuinely he was simply a Good guy, taken from us all far too early.
RIP Big Nose!!
Lets make this a day to remember for all involved.