Chilly start to Fax's Shay life...

If you think it's been cold lately…..

Ask Damian Gibson about his first ever match at the Shay!

That was the Super League match versus Huddersfield on Good Friday 10 April 1998 which was also the Blue Sox' first bow at their new venue.

Gavin Clinch had the honour of scoring the first try with Andrew Hardcastle recording the team as Martin Pearson, Fereti Tuilagi, Gibson, David Bouveng, Daio Powell, Chris Chester, Clinch, Karl Harrison, Paul Rowley, Kelvin Skerrett, Gary Mercer, Simon Baldwin and Marty Moana with the subs being Kevin O'Loughlin, Des Clark, Carl Gillespie and Richard Marshall.

Moana added another couple of tries while Tuilagi and Pearson also crossed as Fax finally got their act together in the second half as the blizzard intensified and Gibbo found himself shivering behind the posts at one stage!

Pearson added five goals and perhaps the major surprise was that 6,392 hardy souls braved the elements!

Rugby League had been played at the Shay before of course.

Most fans from that era remember vividly the match there against Widnes in 1986 when the team were on their way to championship success and the Thrum Hall floodlights were storm damaged.

Those lights were eventually replaced in 1991 at a cost of 30,000 and the club probably spent the best part of a million pounds from 1988 to 1996 to try and keep up with ground safety legislation.

At one stage in the mid 1990's the plan was to sell the Shay, build a new stadium for both Fax and Town on the cricket ground at Thrum Hall and then knock down the old rugby ground and replace it with car parking and training facilities.

That scheme never got off the drawing board though and in early 1996 the first moves were made to move the rugby league club out of Thrum Hall - 110 years after the first game there - and down to the Shay.

And for one glorious 18 hour period on that historic Good Friday night Halifax were top of the Super League and Town were leading the Conference at the same time…

Halifax Rugby League Club's first ever matchday programme is up for grabs. The four-page card issue was produced for the match against Huddersfield at Thrum Hall on 23rd January 1904, which also served as a testimonial match for the great Archie Rigg.

The programme is lot 73 in a massive auction of Rugby League memorabilia being held in the Weavers at The Shay next Saturday.

Other items of interest to Halifax fans are programmes for the 1941 Yorkshire Cup Final against Bradford at Fartown, the 1939 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley against Salford, and a number of homes from war-time season 1944-45. There is also the first Wembley Final from 1929, Test Match programmes from the 1920s, and a pre-war scrap-book.

The auction is part of the annual Rugby League Collectors Fair, which attracts sellers from all over the north of England. Entry to the event, which runs from 10.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m., is free, there is plenty of free parking, and everyone is welcome.