Leigh Centurions are pleased to confirm that the first of the two Warm Up games ahead of the 2017 Betfred Super League season will be a renewal of the Battle of the Borough in the Micky McIlorum Testimonial Game against Wigan Warriors at LSV on Sunday 22 January (3pm).
Micky McIlorum, 28, has made over 200 appearances for Wigan Warriors since making his debut as a teenager in 2007, earning Heritage Number 1000. He played in Wigan’s Super League grand final successes of 2010 and 2013 and their Challenge Cup final victories in 2011 and 2013.
Micky has bravely fought back to fitness after suffering a badly broken and dislocated ankle playing against Brisbane Broncos in the World Club series last February. A dual international, he represented Ireland in the 2008 World Cup and England in the 2013 tournament.
Micky McIlorum said: “It’s very exciting to be soon starting my Testimonial year and everyone tells me it will go by very quickly. Wigan and Leigh are big rivals and with Leigh coming up this year that will only serve to intensify the rivalry.
“Everything looks set fair for a great game with Wigan going into it on the back of winning the Super League grand final and Leigh having achieved promotion to Super League. It will be a great opportunity for the fans to get a first look at their sides for 2017 and see where they are at ahead of the season.
“I’m back in training and have a lot of hard work ahead of me but hopefully it will be my first game back.”
Leigh Centurions Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “This fixture in the past has produced some tough and close encounters and players don’t come much tougher than Micky.
“He is well respected throughout the game and especially at the Wigan club.
“For him to opt to play Leigh Centurions in his Testimonial Game, one of the great highlights of his Testimonial Year is really good for us. No doubt the Wigan fans will turn out in numbers to show their appreciation of Micky’s huge contribution to their club.
“For us it’s our first chance to have a look at our new players and see how far we’ve come in a short space of time since securing promotion to Super League. Shaun (Wane) is bringing a full strength squad and that’s how we will be attacking it.
“It’s an exciting prospect playing against the reigning Super League champions and will be even tougher than previous Battle of the Borough games. It’s a challenge that excites us and we know that we will face that sort of challenge every week in Super League.”
Tickets are priced as follows and go on sale from LSV Ticket Office and online HERE from 9am on Wednesday 23rd November 2016: £20 adult; £15 concession (18 to 21 and 65+); £9 for U18s; free for U5s. West Stand season ticket holders have until 5pm on Friday 23rd December 2016 to claim their existing seat.
The fixture will also see the presentation of the Arthur Thomas Memorial Trophy presented to the Leigh Centurions Man of the Match chosen by his family.
Leigh Owner Derek Beaumont, who has worked closely with the Testimonial committee to ensure Micky and his family have a day to remember, said: “Arthur was a fine man, rugby through and through and he financed the Leigh club for many years with his hard-earned money. It is fitting that we continue to remember him in this way.
“It is because of his family’s loyalty and support of the Club as opposed to self-gain that we have been afforded the chance to take Leigh Centurions forward into Super League and that is something I will never forget and I know they enjoy the day remembering their proud father.
“As long as I am in control of the Club I shall honour my word to them and I look forward to seeing them all for the 2017 Battle of the Borough.”
Mr Beaumont added : “I am particularly looking forward to this year’s event. Whilst there is a lot of rivalry over the years between the clubs I have the upmost respect for Wigan Warriors and what they have achieved and continue to achieve. They produce more Super League quality players than they can keep on an annual basis which adds to the competition as a whole.
“In the past some people have dismissed the game, claiming Wigan don’t send a strong team but I can tell you we have always been extremely proud of beating the teams they have sent which by the end of the season have always proved to have had a significant number of their grand final team in there. This year, for example, no less than eight of the starting line-up and one of their bench players went on to feature in their grand final victory over Warrington nine months later.
“Wigan come to us as the Super League champions and we join as the new boys so it will add an extra bit of spice to the occasion and be a bench mark for where we are at. Jukesy intends to field what he believes to be his best side at that time and everyone knows Waney is a born winner, competitive in everything he does, so I have no doubt he will send a strong side to match us and also out of respect for Micky’s testimonial game.
“He has been a fine servant to the Wigan club and the game itself and it was devastating for him to see his season ended early with his horrific injury. This will be Micky’s first return to action and you can be left in doubt that he will want to get off to a winning start and be able to look back at his testimonial game having won the Battle of the Borough.
“There will be a group of committed Leythers looking to dampen his spirits although I have no doubt everyone will come out in support for Micky and pay him the respect he has earned.”
More details about the Micky McIlorum Testimonial can be obtained from his website: www.mmc9.co.uk