SCRUM on down for a year to remember – that’s the message to rugby fans as the sport celebrates the 150th anniversary of its arrival in Leeds.
Railway clerk Henry Jenkinson set the ball rolling back in March 1864, when he placed a newspaper advert inviting people interested in playing ‘football’ to meet up on Woodhouse Moor.
Just over a fortnight later, more than 200 people turned out to try their hands at an early version of rugby.
Now the famous Leeds tradition of rugby league and rugby union that grew from those humble beginnings is being marked with a packed programme of events running until the end of 2014.
Organised by the Leeds Rugby Foundation heritage committee, it will include matches, exhibitions, dinners and even a commemorative church service.
And yesterday engineering firm A Taylor & Son was announced as the sponsor of the Leeds Rugby 150 project.
The firm is a fitting choice for the role, as it was founded in 1864 close to Headingley, the spiritual home of rugby in Leeds.
These days based in Hunslet and employing 150 people, its sponsorship will be delivered under the Taylormade brand.
David Minskip, the firm’s commercial director, said: “We are delighted to join forces with the Leeds Rugby Foundation as they celebrate 150 years of rugby in Leeds this year. The opportunity to partner such an important organisation is very rare and we are proud to offer our wholehearted support throughout 2014.”
Phil Caplan, trustee and chairman of the heritage committee, said: “The support of A Taylor & Son is invaluable in allowing us to have a totally-inclusive celebration of this keynote anniversary.”
Full details of the Leeds Rugby 150 programme of events are due to be announced next week.
The Leeds Rugby Foundation is the official charity of Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie.
It aims to make a positive difference to people’s lives through a wide range of sporting initiatives.
l Watch out for a new weekly page in the Yorkshire Evening Post, starting on Tuesday, March 4, and highlighting the wide-ranging community work that is carried out by the Rhinos and Carnegie.