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The club motto of “From small acorns the mighty oak tree grows” steadfastly applies to the Skirlaugh club, now in their twenty ninth season. From their very humble beginnings they have now risen to the very pinnacle of the amateur game, however throughout all those years one common denominator as been present -- that of building the club on solid foundations at all times. That policy has proved to reap a rich harvest, in context to be the club are today.

We look back to Boxing Day 1980 to trace the origins of Skirlaugh, which resulted in a friendly game between a group of rugby enthusiasts and the local cricket club in Skirlaugh. That took place at Benningholme Lane in the village, which nestles in the Holderness Plain between Hull and the east coast.. Ironically it was the cricket club that took the spoils that day by 13-6, but to founder members Colin Moulds, Peter McWatt and Alan Towle the dream had started. McWatt is now the Chairman, after spending twenty years as a coach with the First Team, and Towle who held the post of Chairman for twenty one years and Treasurer for a number of years is very recently retired.

However the history of the club is defined into two very separate chapters, firstly that of life at Benningholme Lane from 1980 to 1996 as members of the Humberside (now Hull & District) League. Secondly from 1996 when the club re-located to the resplendent Eastside Community Sports Centre ( the former B.P.Club) on the eastern outskirts of Hull to the present day. That move came as a successful application was made to join The National Conference League, and with it a rigorous criteria of playing standards that Benningholme Lane could not accommodate.

Over the years Skirlaugh have produced many players who have gone on to gain international honours, and many who have graced the professional game. The most famous being Steve McNamara  the present head coach of England and now applying his trade in Australia as assistant coach with Sydney Roosters, and who also had a glittering playing career with Hull FC who signed him form the Skirlaugh club, Bradford Bulls & Wakefield. The first Skirlaugh player to gain international recognition was Lee Newton who toured South Africa in 1994 with the GB/Under 23 Young Lions. That list now is an ever growing one, that includes Phil Crane who has made a record number of five BARLA National Cup Final appearances, claiming four winners medals in the process, record points scorer Lee Waterman ( Doncaster) and the latest being Jed Carter who will represent the GB/BARLA Under 23 side in their tour to Jamaica in June 2014.   Over the years the Skirlaugh ARLFC can boast they have supplied two international captain’s from their ranks with Sean Wildbore who has made a record number of appearances for the club (RFL / GB Community Lions) & Trevor Penrose (BARLA GB Lions), who in their capacity took their sides to Australia, and in the case of the former it resulted in an un-precedented undefeated tour.


After that Boxing Day friendly and after all the  hard work Skirlaugh joined the Humberside League (now The Hull & District League) in the 1981/82 season as members of Division Four, twice finishing fourth. Due to a re-organisation in the league structures they found themselves in Division Two at the start of the 1983/84 campaign. It is at this point in time Skirlaugh started to progress and take massive strides forward.

An unbeaten fourteen match league programme saw them crowned Division Two “Champions” and the first of what was to become numerous cup successes. That first of many was The Terry Hall Cup as Ship Inn were defeated 40-22.

Another undefeated league season in 1984/85 saw the First Division Championship lifted, and they also made three appearances in the local cup finals. The Terry Hall Cup (57-22 versus Crooked Billet) was retained; The Transport Cup (8-4 versus Jesmond) was added whilst a first showing in the prestigious BOCM Cup Final ended in defeat by the odd point in twenty seven to NEGAS.

Moving up to the elite Premier Division it was a time of consolidation as three successive seventh place finishes ensued, but The Humberside Championship was claimed in the 1988/89 season, just nine short years after the foundation of the Skirlaugh club. However that success was achieved in dramatic fashion, as it was three way tie at the end of the season on twenty two points. In the play off for the title Skirlaugh won 14-10 at NDLB (Hull Dockers) and then 22-16 at Mysons ( East Hull).

Third and fourth place finishes followed in the next two seasons, before another third in 1991/92, a season which put Skirlaugh into the national arena and focus. Skirlaugh reached the final of The BARLA National Cup, only to lose 27-08 to arch local rivals Hull Dockers at Knowsley Road, St.Helens. This was to be the first of a record six appearances in the “Blue Ribband” knock out competition of the then amateur game, as Skirlaugh became known as “The Cup Kings” in the mid nineties and into the Millennium.

1992/93 saw Skirlaugh only muster a fifth place league finish, but improved a year later to third place, but again in 1994/95 the Humberside Championship was brought back to the village as part of a notable double. The club lifted for the very first time The Yorkshire Cup with a thrilling 24-20 victory over holders Heworth at The Ryedale Stadium, York.

Skirlaugh went one better in the following 1995/96 season by claiming an- precedented “Treble” which had never beeN achieved the amateur game, of firstly retaining and lifting their own local league Championship secondly not only retaining their own County Yorkshire Cup, but lifting the BARLA National Cup. The latter came with a thrilling 21-17 victory over Cumbrian “Giants” Ellenborough Rangers to which this day is rated the greatest of all the finals, in which now Skirlaugh “legend” and Chairman of the Youth Section. The Skirlaugh Bulls Richard Gotts was awarded The Tom Keavenghy Man of the Match award. Front row forward Dean Ralph became the BARLA “Player of the Year” on the back of the club’s successes and was a richly deserved award for the powerful international GB/BARLA  front row forward .

It was that prowess on the field and continual success that drove Skirlaugh to making a bid to join the National Conference League which is now covered in Chapter 3.


Prior to entry in Division Two of the National Conference League in the 1996/97 season, the summer of 1996 proved to be an intense time both on and off the field. Huge amounts of work were undertaken at the then B.P.Club at Saltend, now the Eastside Community Sports Centre but the most important step was amalgamating with the defunct Crown Malet Youth Section. Through the hard work of Kim Baish, Peter Anderson and Kevin Dale, that today is a success story as The Skirlaugh Bulls Youth Section is a very large and vibrant one, producing players so the future of the club is in good hands.

Skirlaugh finished runners up to Redhill (Castleford) in that inaugural season in The National Conference League, as record try scorer Shaun Wyvill took The NCL Division Two Player of the Year, pipping fellow nominee Phil Crane. The club went one better the following season by lifting the first Division Championship, and becoming the first ever side to gain successive promotions to the Premier Division, a status Skirlaugh still enjoy today.

Skirlaugh’s first two seasons in the Premier Division saw them runners up on both occasions, been narrowly ousted to the silverware by West Hull, but enjoyed the luxury of dominating the BARLA National Cup, with back to back victories in 1999 & 2000. The Copeland Stadium, Whitehaven in 1999 saw Wath Brow Hornets defeated 32-2 in a record winning margin, which was a season present head coach Colin Brown was awarded the National Conference Player of the Year award. A year later in 2000 at The Boulevard in Hull, Skirlaugh overcame local rivals Ideal Isberg 36-30.

2000/01 saw a fifth place finish, a season later fourth and again in 2003/04 Skirlaugh were again runners up to Siddal. It was to be a season that ended in controversy as Skirlaugh were ordered to face West Hull on Challenge Cup Final day in a Play Off Final Eliminator, and unable to raise a side due to the annual pilgrimage to Wembley. That resulted in a £750 fine and a four point deduction for the following season, which had an adverse effect on the club which struggled the following season. It was a campaign that saw a season long fight against relegation, before finishing a respectable tenth, and ending the season with a fifth appearance in the final of the BARLA National Cup., at Blackpool. However Wath Brow Hornets gained revenge for their 1999 defeat when running out 15-8 winners.

The following season (2005/06) Skirlaugh finished fifth in The Premier Division and returned to Blackpool for a record sixth National Cup Final appearance, and lifted the trophy for the fourth time when overcoming Leigh Miners Rangers 23-16. Phil Crane set a new benchmark when making a fifth appearance in the final, and having four winners medals to his name.  

Despite all their National Cup successes, Skirlaugh’s greatest achievement came in the 2006/07 season, as they finished runners up to Leigh Miners Rangers, who they went on to beat in The NCL Grand Final 8-6 in a classic contest at The Spotland Stadium, Rochdale and become Conference Champions. Thus Skirlaugh became the first side to not finish in pole position and lift the title, the biggest prize in the amateur game. Following that Grand Final success Skirlaugh travelled to France the following September to contest The European Championship against Bias (Villeneuve), which they duly lifted with a 28-18 victory to complete a remarkable “Double”.

2007/08 & 2008/09 saw Skirlaugh at the top end of the amateur game finishing third on both occasions in the Premier Division, but having to look in at other’s successes. Trevor Penrose became BARLA Player of the Year, in the latter season. However after that it has been a continual struggle to avoid the drop to Division One, none more so than in the 2012 season when it literally was shoot out when Leigh East visited Eastside with the winner condemning the other side to relegation. Skirlaugh ran out victors 26-24 with a penalty two minutes from time from centre Jason Bell. Extra spice had been added to the contest as Leigh East failed to turn up seven days earlier for the scheduled fixture date. It is a source of great pride that Skirlaugh are the third longest members of the Premier Division, behind original members Leigh Miners Rangers & Wigan St. Patrick’s.

One goal that Skirlaugh have never achieved is to beat a professional side in the RFL Challenge Cup, having taken Swinton Lions to extra time (2002), narrowly losing at Whitehaven 12-6 |(1997), whilst playing Hunslet Haks (1996 & 1998), Workington Town (1999 & 2000), York City Knights (2003), Featherstone Rovers (2006), Widnes Vikings (2008)and finally Gloucester All Golds (2012).

Skirlaugh Bulls Youth

Skirlaugh Bulls Youth Amateur Rugby League Football Club is the junior section of the highly successful Skirlaugh ARLFC. The Bulls were formed in 1995 from the amalgamation of the former Crown-Malet youth teams into the Skirlaugh Club. This fulfilled the requirements of the National Conference to allow Skirlaugh to play at the highest level.

The Bulls are members of the Hull & District Youth Rugby League and Yorkshire Juniors Leagues operating a range of teams from under 6's through to under 16's.

The under 6,7,8's,9's 10's play Mini while the 11,s play Mod (Modified) Rugby with the season running from approximately March to September, games are played midweek.

Teams from under 12's to under 14,s play a summer season approximately March to October and games are played on Sundays.

The under 15 and 16,s team play in the Yorkshire Juniors League with a season running from March until October Fixtures are played on a Sunday around the Yorkshire Region

Teams from Under 12 to under 16 are entered into BARLA regional and national cup competitions at their appropriate age group

In 2009 due to high demand the Youth section of Skirlaugh Bulls made the decision to set up the Skirlaugh Shrimps, this is aimed at children from the age of 4/5 and teaches them basic ball handling skills.

The Club achieved Clubmark Status in 2004 after years of hard work and commitment; this is something that only a few other clubs within the Hull & District area have aspired to. Clubmark accreditation is reviewed yearly. In 2007 Skirlaugh Bulls was assessed by an independent company, KKP who were appointed by Sport England and the RFL. Skirlaugh Bulls passed with flying colours.

As a whole, the Club strives to maintain its high standards, making Skirlaugh Bulls one of the most successful teams within the Hull & District area.


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League results

Rank Played Won Lost Drawn GD Points
3 2 2 0 0 21 4

Current form


Latest matches

Date Team Location Result
Saturday 07 March, 2020 14:30 Myton WarriorsAway
Saturday 14 March, 2020 14:30 Ince Rose BridgeHome

Upcoming matches

Date Team Location Result
Saturday 21 March, 2020 14:30 Oulton RaidersHome
Saturday 28 March, 2020 14:30 Thornhill TrojansAway
Saturday 04 April, 2020 14:30 Hull DockersAway
Saturday 18 April, 2020 14:30 StanningleyHome
Saturday 25 April, 2020 14:30 Milford MarlinsAway

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