‘One of the best days of my playing career ‘ was the assessment from Cougars Buster Feather of Sundays Testimonial Game , celebrating the Club Captains 10 years loyal service for his home town Club .
Past and Present Cougars as well as former teammates from the amateur game came together to form Busters All Stars and they took on a youthful Keighley Cougars team , in a fantastic afternoon of sporting entertainment.In an end to end game the final result went the way of the All Stars but the result was never really an issue , with the 300 plus strong crowd enjoying the spectacle of their former heroes taking on what was in the main an inexperienced Cougars Squad .
‘I’d like to thank all the fans that turned out to support this Sundays game ‘said the popular hooker .’ People ask me frequently what games were the highlights of my time at Cougar Park . They usually expect me to say either the 2009 or 2011 Grand Final but today ,getting the chance to play along some great friends and great rugby league players ( some I’m sure for the final time as folk get older ) in front of family ,friends and fans who have supported me over the years has been an occasion definitely up there with both those games.’
‘To be honest the game was played at a far faster tempo than I was expecting , a testament to the efforts of both teams . It was great to see some of the younger lads get a run out for the Cougars and show our supporters that we’ve got some excellent local talent coming through the ranks here at Keighley . Some of the lads will be familiar to anyone who’s watched the Academy and U18s this year and it was great to see them given their chance , alongside the new signings of Ash Lindsay , Jack Lee and Lewis Graham who got their first run out in Cougar Colours .’
Buster also heaped praise on his off field team ‘ The day couldn’t have run without our backroom boys , Doc Lawrence and Stinger our Phyiso (ex Cougar Wing Simon Wray) who both gave their services for free , Stinger even providing us with all the strapping as well. Paul Moses and Keith Dixon who took on Coaching Duties for the day not forgetting the stewards , ground staff and the ‘Wise Old Sage’ Jez Crowther for all his help and knowledge . Also our two ‘crocked’ water-boys , Sammy Gardner and Matt Foster .Both had wanted to play but were unable to through injuries .Matt especially had wanted to turn out. With several of his former Scholarship and Under 18 boys ,Ben Sagar ,Ryan Patchett and Steady in the Cougars line up I think he still wanted to show who was the master !
Probably the hardest job of the day has to have been that of Kit Manager Amanda Cox , who had the unenviable task of sorting out & keeping track of 50 sets of playing strip and then washing it all afterwards . Coxie’s done a fantastic job with the 1st team all season and I’m sure that Sunday was the day from hell for her and she cant wait to get back her usual 17 shirts when the season begins !
I’d also like to make special mention of my ball boys for the afternoon, who are part of a group that I work with in my day job as a Youth Worker with Your Sporting Chance . Myself and Rawlo (fellow YSC worker & Cougar forward Brendon Rawlins ) have worked with these lads closely over the last year and it was inconceivable that they wouldn’t be part of my big day .’
Buster’s Testimonial is set to finish in March this year with a couple of events still to go . ‘There’s a Boxing Evening at Vic Hall in early January and we’ll finish the year with a Gala Dinner at the Cedar Court Hotel in Bradford next March ‘ he said .’ My Testimonial Committee have put in many hours making sure all the events are successful and the’ve been a fantastic bunch to work with .
As well as manning the turnstyles , selling programmes , raffle tickets and numerous other jobs on Sunday they also ensured that that we had a sold out Matchday meal upstairs as well . At this point as well I better not forget (or my life will not be worth living ! )to mention Lavinia in the club kitchen who put on some excellent food both pre and post match .
Finally Buster played tribute to his team mates from Sundays game . ‘ I’m sure there was some very weary and bruised bodies last Monday morning’ he said . I’m grateful to everyone who turned out . To play alongside the likes of Matty Bramald , Phil Stevenson and especially Baz ,was amazing . Special mention has to go to 40 + year Daz Lynham who was on his second game in two days,having turned out for the Keighley Amateurs in a Pennine League fixture on the Saturday !
Also I never thought I’d ever get to play alongside Nathan Antonik , a boyhood hero of mine . I watched him all the time when I was a youngster learning my game with the Cougar Cubs . He’s probably got the best technique of copybook tackling around the legs that I have ever seen , I spent many an hour trying to copy him and I’d like to think that still has an influence on how I play the game today .’
For more info on upcoming testimonial events please visit here