Leeds Rhinos: Leeds and Centurions set to do battle for new ‘Risman’ trophy

Bev Risman.

Bev Risman.

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A new trophy will be up for grabs when Leeds Rhinos face Leigh Centurions at Headingley Carnegie next Thursday.

Going into the penultimate round of the Qualifiers both teams are unbeaten with Leigh having booked their return to First Utility Super League for the first time since 2005.

The game will be televised live on Sky Sports, who have donated a trophy in honour of a former great of both clubs, Bev Risman.

Risman and his wife Ann will be special guests at the match and Bev will present the trophy to the winning captain on the pitch after the game.

It is the intention the clubs will compete annually for the trophy, the winner being determined by the aggregate scores of the respective league games in seasons when they are in the same division.

Now 78, Risman was a dual-code international who won nine England rugby union caps and toured Australia and New Zealand in 1959 with the British Lions.

The son of Salford and Workington Town great Gus Risman, an inaugural member of the Rugby League Hall of Fame, Bev was educated at Cockermouth Grammar School, Manchester University and Loughborough Colleges and had a wealth of natural ability as a sportsman. As a rugby player he could play with distinction in any back position.

He signed professional forms with Leigh in March, 1961 and went on to make 140 appearances for the club, scoring 31 tries and kicking 241 goals and captaining the side. He was also a schoolmaster at Leigh Grammar.

Early in 1966 he was transferred to Leeds and went on to enjoy a golden end to his playing career, making 164 appearances and scoring 20 tries and kicking 611 goals before retiring at the end of the 1969-70 season.

While at Headingley, Risman - who was a teacher at Leeds Grammar School - won five Great Britain caps and represented his country in the 1968 World Cup.

He also played a pivotal role in Leeds’ dramatic victory in the famous 1968 Watersplash Challenge Cup final against Wakefield Trinity.

Bev’s younger brother John also had a long professional career and his son John won three Oxford Blues in Varsity Rugby in the 1980s.

Later a lecturer at Reading University, a sports and fitness consultant to the Lawn Tennis Association and a highly regarded regional rugby league coach, Bev played a key role in the establishment of rugby league in London following the formation of Fulham in 1980. He also coached Fulham between July 1987 and October 1988.

Now living in retirement in Penrith, Cumbria, Risman and his wife were special guests of Leigh Centurions at the Championship game against London Broncos earlier this year.

Tom Briscoe

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