FEW PLAYERS, at any level, have had a season to match Jamie Fields’ – and he has not finished yet.
Fields captained Hunslet Club Parkside through their record-breaking unbeaten National Conference Premier Division campaign, lifting the league leaders’ and Grand Final trophies.
He shared the Conference player of the year award with Parkside team-mate Jamie Bradley at the weekend and is now preparing to captain BARLA (British Amateur Rugby League Association) Lions on a four-game tour of Fiji.
The squad, also including Parkside’s Andy Hullock, will fly to Fiji on Friday, November 9, to take part in the South Pacific Tri-Nations tournament.
“I am massively looking forward to it, especially being tour captain,” said Fields, a goal-kicking prop-forward.
“That makes it extra special and it’s good one of my teammates is going as well. It is always more comfortable when you’re with one of your own.”
Following a stopover in Brisbane, Australia, the Lions will arrive in Fiji on November 12 and play their first match just three days later. After facing Fiji West, they will take on Fiji Bati Reserves on November 17, Australian Affiliated States on November 20 and Bati Reserves again three days after that.
“It is going to be good to test ourselves against the best,” Fields added.
“Fiji Bati Reserves are players from the Toyota Cup and Queensland Cup so they’ll be a really good standard.
“It is going to be tough, but it’s something I’m really relishing, testing myself against the best.
“We’ve got four games in nine days so it’s going to be ruthless, but if you want to play at the top of the amateur game you’ve got to play games in quick succession.”
Fields is no stranger to playing for his country.
“I went to Jamaica with the Lions,” he recalled.
“That was an eye-opener, in Kingston. I’ve played against the Army in a Joining Jack game and it’s always great.
“It is the best of the best of the amateur game and it’s a great way to end the season.”
Parkside’s only defeat in 2018 was against Betfred League One club Workington Town in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Other than that they were untouchable at the top level of the community game and Fields reflected: “It is a bit surreal.
“It has not sunk in, what we’ve done.
“At the start of the year, when we set out, I didn’t expect to go unbeaten all season, go through the play-offs and win that and then get selected for my nation.
“It has been brilliant and it’s great for the club as well. A lot more players could have gone on this tour than me and Andy; it really is a squad effort.”
Other West Yorkshire players in the Lions tour squad include Castleford Lock Lane’s Craig Savage and Luke Tagg, Featherstone Lions duo Dean Gamble and Ian Jackson and Ryan Chalkley of Shaw Cross Sharks.
Elsewhere at the NCL awards over the weekend, Parkside’s Sam Thorpe, Martin Rowse and Paul McShane were named Premier Division coaches of the year, Thornhill’s James Ratcliffe claimed the Division One coaching award while Stanningley’s Ash Golding and Jordan Lilley won the Division Two coaches of the year award.
Thornhill Trojans’ Danny Ratcliffe was named first division player of the year while Stanningley’s Liam Copland claimed the second division player of the year award.