Watching some of the Six Nations rugby tournament on TV at the weekend reminded me that I had this wintry photo of the Bradford & Bingley rugby club's ground on Wagon Lane in Bingley. The club has a claim to fame as one of the first sides to play against the newly conceived Barbarians side in 1890. (The match was drawn.)
For those who are not rugby fans, The Barbarians are an invitation-only touring side, drawn from some of the best international rugby players. They owe their existence to the vision and enthusiasm of one man, William Percy Carpmael. He conceived his grand idea late one evening in 1890 in Leuchters Restaurant, Bradford. Carpmael's vision was that the Barbarian Club should be absolutely cosmopolitan, bringing together players from different clubs to play a few matches each year of 'adventurous, attacking rugby', and with the aim of spreading good-fellowship amongst all rugby football players. This continues to this day. Even though club and international schedules these days demand huge commitment from players, nevertheless playing for the Baa-Baas is considered a great honour. According to their website, the qualifications considered when issuing an invitation are: that the player's football is of a good enough standard and secondly that he should behave himself on and off the field. There is no discrimination whatsoever by race, colour or creed.
Of course, this area of Yorkshire is perhaps better known for Rugby League than Rugby Union - with the Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos both attracting huge support locally. But I confess I'm a Union fan myself.