FOLLOWING the recent passing of Ilkley Tennis Club Head Groundsman Richard Lord, his footballing colleagues gathered to play a game in his memory.

Richard was a popular member of The Wheatley Sunday morning team, excelling over a number of years both in defence and in goal.

Having not played together for over ten years the Wheatley team reformed for one night and were generously hosted by an Ilkley Town Super Vets XI on the immaculate 4G pitch at Ben Rhydding. The teams remembered Richard with a minute's silence, also thinking of Nick Sheard and Steve Wainwright, two other much loved members of the team who died young.

The game itself provided an interesting contrast in styles as the Ilkley team - well accustomed to vets football - demonstrated their wisdom by primarily using short passes to work their way up the pitch.

The Wheatley were less patient in possession initially, which saw them hand the ball back to Ilkley all too quickly.

As the first half wore on The Wheatley gradually made more considered use of the ball and should have taken the lead when Daniel Houlbrook and Nick Beanland linked up to send Houlbrook through on goal.

Sadly his effort was tame and easily gathered by the Ilkley keeper.

The deadlock was broken shortly afterwards when a goalmouth scramble, in large part caused by the persistence of The Wheatley's James Barron and Tim McTigue, saw the ball drop just inside the area to The Wheatley's oldest player, Paul Roberts, and he dispatched a controlled low finish into the bottom right hand corner.

The lead didn't last long though as Ilkley continued to probe, with the industrious Darren Palmer at the heart of their best moments. Palmer tested Andrew Dobson a number of times but it was Richard Adambrook who levelled the scores just before half time with a fine finish from 14 yards into the bottom left hand corner.

The second half saw a number of changes from both teams, with The Wheatley welcoming Richard Wood and Andy Murray into the fray. The two of them struck up an instant, almost mutually exclusive, understanding which led to the creation of three excellent chances for Wood. The first two, both from close range, were expertly saved by the Ilkley keeper. The third saw Wood through on goal and about to try his luck again only to be robbed of the opportunity by a wonderful sliding tackle from Shaun Bishop.

Ilkley remained a threat with Darren Midgley and late substitute Stephen Miles particularly dangerous. Luckily for The Wheatley Dobson rolled back the years in goal with numerous excellent saves to keep the scores level.

Honours finished even and, bearing in mind they hadn't played together for over ten years, The Wheatley team can be pleased with their efforts, with notable performances from Stuart Moore, Colin Smith, Joe McTigue, David Taylor, Paul Dawson, John Mutton and the evergreen Andrew Dobson. Huge thanks must go to Paul Wintersgill for his hard work in making the fixture happen and ultimately the evening was a celebration of the lives of Richard, Nick and Steve, who remain much loved and remembered.  REPORT BY:NICK BEANLAND