Dorahy to lift lid on THAT season

Former Halifax player coach John Dorahy's autobiography has just been published and although he only had one season in charge at Thrum Hall it would be an understatement to say that it was eventful!

In January 1990, 21 years ago next month, "Joe Cool" was preparing his side for the Regal Trophy Final against Wigan at Headingley.

It was unheard of that a second division team (for that is exactly what Fax were that year remember) should go this far in the competition, let alone beat Salford, Featherstone and St Helens, who were all top flight teams, en route.

Halifax's lone try scorer that afternoon in Leeds was Brendan Hill, who was starting to repay some of the massive 90,000 fee that Halifax had paid Bradford for his services a year earlier in January 1989.

His registration was finally accepted by the league after a tribunal ruled that he had been transferred to Halifax from Northern despite the fact that St Helens also claimed to have signed him.

Hill's arrival was too late to stop Halifax getting relegated, however, as the team changed out of all recognition as the season progressed from the one left by Chris Anderson with Ross Strudwick in charge until February.

Hill's first try came in the final game of the campaign when ironically it was Saints who were thrashed at Thrum Hall in front of a remarkably large crowd, despite the fact that the club was already doomed.

As Dorahy's reign continued, however, his team began to break up in turn as the club found itself edging nearer and nearer to financial meltdown.

He also saw his star players – lads like Tony Anderson, Les Holliday, Neil James and Colin Whitfield for example – sold off to appease creditors, only to still have to contend with a threatened players' strike at one time.

It will be interesting to hear Dorahy's version of events when he's in town to promote the book.....

It's Challenge Cup time for the top local amateur sides early in the New Year.

Ovenden have an intriguing game against Mayfield from Rochdale which will bring back memories for older fans of one or two battles (sometimes literally) between the clubs in the early days of the Pennine League.

The Rochdale side these days includes such familiar names as Todd O'Brien, Wayne Corcoran and some bloke called Damian Gibson......

Siddal entertain Eastmoor whose main strike player this year so far has been centre Andy Smith, another player once of Halifax.

The former Bradford and Harlequins player arrived at the Shay in 2008 but didn't last the season out despite an encouraging start.

He had a bit of a nightmare at Dewsbury on Easter Monday and looked a lonely figure as he set off walking back home to Wakefield from Ram Stadium, not looking up at the team coach as it passed him.

He made another bad error at Bridgend the following Saturday and his final first team match was at Sheffield where he struggled to hold a certain Rob Worrincy and was brought off midway through the first half. He stayed in the dugout at halftime until forced back to the dressing room totally despondent.