A crowd of 4,066, more than four times last season’s average, turned out for Keighley’s League 1 match against Coventry on Sunday to pay their respects to Danny Jones.
Jones, a Wales international, died of a heart attack after being taken ill during Keighley’s game at London Skolars last Sunday.
A post-mortem showed he suffered from undiagnosed hereditary heart disease that resulted in his cardiac arrest. Jones, who was 29, leaves a widow Lizzie and five-month-old twins. The match went ahead at the request of the Jones family and the kick-off was put back by 15 minutes to allow the hordes of fans into Cougar Park.
Before kick-off on an emotional afternoon, Lizzie walked onto the pitch, cradling twins Bobby and Phoebe, and fought back the tears as she released balloons in memory of her husband. A book of condolence was opened in the clubhouse and fund-raising by the Rugby Football League’s benevolent fund has so far reached £90,000 of the £100,000 target.
A bucket collection at the match, which Keighley won 52-10, raised a further £10,500.
Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh Centurions recovered from a half-time deficit to beat visitors Halifax 22-14 in a match that saw both teams finish with 10 men. Leigh centre Tom Armstrong had been sent off for an alleged head-butt when the match erupted 10 minutes from the end and home forward Jamie Acton was sent off, along with Halifax’s Steve Tyrer and Andy Bracek while Fax’s Mitch Cahalane (Halifax) and Leigh’s Kurt Haggerty were shown yellow cards.