Once again the Lakeside Restaurant and Bar at the Ponderosa Rare Breeds Centre in Heckmondwike was the venue for the now legendary BISSA dinner.
The once controversial referee Karl Kirkpatrick kicked off proceedings with a ‘heads and tails’ fund raiser which set the tone for the evening. Starters followed and then one lucky person won the first of the free raffle draws. BISSA chairman, Colin Bottomley, welcomed everyone to the event and so begun the seventh BISSA dinner. A main course of chicken followed, and people savoured and enjoyed the whole atmosphere. Further free raffle draws took place, topped off with a chocolate dessert along with coffee and mints which ensured guests were suitably fed and watered.
During breaks in the meal Karl Kirkpatrick intercepted with a couple of auction items, his wit and repartee ensuring that all were entertained. There were several references to his chequered career. One particular recount was when he was the official at Hull KR. He had sent FIVE players off in the course of the game (!!!) and it was suggested that he have his meal after the game in the (locked) secretary’s office. However this turned out to be a pizza as it was the only item which would fit under the door. He had to have a police escort back to the motorway and recalled the thrill of following a police car at 75/80mph, not stopping at traffic lights as there were plenty spectators waiting to abuse him. Eventually he was out of town and the policeman got out of his car, coming over to Karl who thanked them for getting him out of a tough spot. To which the policeman replied “Will you do us a favour?” Karl, thinking it would be a request for an autograph, replied “Yes of course officer” Policeman retorted “Don’t come back here you’re sh*t”!
At one point in the proceedings there was a Q&A session with Coach Karl Harrison, which added an interesting slant to the evening. When asked whether he would be around next season he replied………………(well actually I’m not going to reveal what he said as I think that was a reward for the people who attended the evening, sorry!!).
The feeling of the evening from both Karl’s was that the M62 corridor produced the majority of players for Rugby League and unfortunately the RFL seems to be concentrating on expansion and trading this for the heartland……a sentiment shared by many.
The legendary Roy ‘Dicko’ Dickinson then took centre stage stating that originally he was from The Big Apple. Gasps around the room soon turned to laughs as he proceeded to say that it was Bramley where his career had begun (see programme for career breakdown). He went on to divulge the little known fact that Karl Harrison had once been awarded second place in a Brad Pitt lookalike competition (Stanley Gene being the eventual winner!!). Roy went on to recount some of his career bests, stating that he had probably encountered 10,000 prop forward elbows or stiff arms, 15.000 tackles and not to mention the ‘compulsory brawls’ during most games. He recalled an encounter with Jim Mills when scrum downs had had to be repeated again & again. Jim asked Roy whether this was going to do this all game. Roy retorted if he wanted to quit that was up to him! An altercation took place in the bar later. It was obvious that neither of them were going to let it lie. Jim is now 66 years old and Roy is still determined to get one over on him next time they meet!
Roy said that he was often asked whether the Leeds of yesterday would triumph over the Rhinos of today. He answered that today RL is a different game completely. His final sentiments were that Rugby League is all about making friends, both male and female, and that it had given him a good life all in all.
This BISSA dinner was probably the best one yet. Great venue, good food, fantastic company and once again an absolute bargain at £30!
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