RAMILY DAY 2015
Written by Tom White
Yorkshire Rams past, present and future went head-to-head on Sunday as a summer of football concluded with an alumni game as part of a family fun day at the club’s Leeds Corinthians home.
The atmosphere may have been light-hearted but after a disappointing season ended in relegation, the current side were determined to prove their worth to a squad featuring members of this season’s coaching staff and notable former Rams and bolstered by some of the hugely promising Pennine Panthers junior set-up.
Anyone who had been within earshot of Philip ‘Bilko’ Keeling during training would have known to expect intensity and physicality from the old boys, and so it proved. The current squad took an early lead, though, with cornerback Tom Wilkinson running an interception back for a touchdown before the offence took to the field for the first time to add the two-point conversion through running back Daunte Wint-Angus. His pace was to prove too much for the alumni throughout and he added the team’s second touchdown before half-time, again converted as quarterback Mark Gaze floated a pass to Spencer Whybrow – older than many of the alumni, but still going strong for the current side!
Some crafty snap-count management helped set the veterans up in scoring position in the third quarter and Simon Dewdney – who in his time as Rams quarterback proper led the team to their only BritBowl appearance (2002) – found wide receiver Rik Lowthion for a touchdown to close the gap. Despite a possibly generous penalty affording them a second crack at the two-point conversion from half distance, they were unable to punch it in and remained 10 points behind.
An ill-judged interception by safety Chris Lawton – stubbornly living up to his ‘Pick City’ moniker even on fourth down, on his own two-yard line – handed the ball to Gaze and his offence in dismal field position, exacerbated by a farcical succession of ‘half the distance to the goal’ penalties. What therefore ensued was a drive lasting almost the entire fourth quarter before Wint-Angus again scampered free down the left sideline, allowing him and Jake Caines to finally break out the ‘nae-nae’ dance in celebration! With time up, all that remained was for “2015 Rams” to convert on a Gaze QB-keeper and round off a 24-6 win.
Many of the Rams’ youth and junior players, and a handful of the senior team and alumni, were also in action in a flag football tournament with the winning team captained by Tyler Broad, who had the right idea for the fast-paced, non-contact format by drafting fellow receivers and seniors Ross Hammond and Tom White. The latter, like Broad, returned after playing in the senior game to help secure victory over a squad anchored by Gaze and Rams receiver Peter Yianni.
With a bar, music, bouncy castle, a barbecue manned by injured Rams stalwart ‘Pid’ Hegarty and the tasty wares of Wakefield’s “Ice Cream Andy” – look out for his chaotic audition on an upcoming edition of the X-Factor – there was plenty to entertain the crowds.
Many thanks to all those who attended, and in particular the former players who turned out for an enjoyable occasion. Thanks are also due to the team committee, with a special mention for Phil Gatenby’s efforts in the organisation of the day.