Ralph to be Union president

FORMER Halifax Town chairman Geoff Ralph is ready to step back into the sporting spotlight as president of the Halifax, Huddersfield and District Union in 2010.

The 58-year-old, a member at Queensbury Golf Club for more than 30 years, will take over from Meltham's Philip Walton, who is about to start his year in office.

Nine handicapper Ralph was unanimously elected at a vote of past presidents after being approached by John Cocking from Marsden.

He said: "It was a bit of a surprise but I am pleased."

Ralph was the sole director when the Shaymen ran into financial trouble during the last close season, going into administration and sliding to Unibond One North.

Northowram-based Ralph was reluctant to talk about Town's fall form grace, which came after they had led Hereford in the Conference play-off final at Leicester at the end of the 2005-06 season, only to lose in extra time.

He said: "It was disappointing, particularly after we had been 12 minutes away from getting back into the Football League."

Ralph, who is a chartered quantity surveyor working at Asda's head office in Leeds, believes he will be only the second Queensbury member to be president following Bill "Pat" Patterson in 1978.

Ralph has held dual club membership, playing at Cleckheaton for a few years, but is loyal to Queensbury because he finds it a friendly club.

He was club president in 1996, captain in 1998 and a committee member for the best part of 20 years.

Successes on the course include being Bradford rabbits champion in the early 1980s when Queensbury were members of two Unions, winning the Geoff Cockin Trophy partnering ex-Bradford Northern RL player Alan Rhodes and being a member of the club team which won the Nine Hole Clubs' Championship in 1999.

While Geoff will have duties to fulfil as vice president from March onwards, his wife Shelagh could be in for the busier 2009 as she is Queensbury ladies captain.