Rugby club to celebrate the life of former player Julian Bebbington

OLDHAM Rugby Union Club will be celebrating the life of former player Julian Bebbington on Saturday (May 21).

The Manor Park is hosting a vets’ match between Oldham and Littleborough, two of his former clubs, to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the illness which claimed his life last summer aged 59.

It will kick off at 3,15pm after the Great Britain Police Masters rugby team has played Elland at 2pm.

Julian played most of his rugby at rival club Littleborough RUFC, but in his final years moved to Oldham along with a number of other players from Littleborough Vets and played out his career with Oldham Vets.

Julian Bebbington

He was born in June 1961 in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and in his early life it soon became clear that Julian was talented in his sporting endeavours.  He sprinted at county level and showed ability as a shot putter.

Julian qualified as a teacher in the 1980s and moved to Rochdale, where he took up a post at the Roach Valley High School.  He also began playing rugby at Littleborough RUFC, mainly as a front row forward.  This is where he made a life-long friendship with the two other front rows, Brent Pollitt and Bob Webster who also later moved to Oldham.

In addition to his rugby, Julian also excelled in other outdoor pursuits including canoeing, skiing and walking, and became a qualified instructor.  Apart from his sporting achievements, he was also an accomplished bass guitarist who played live around the area.

One of his most memorable rugby games at the end of his career was the touring game to Cardiff where the team played against Magor on the hallowed turf at Cardiff Arms Park.  Even in his late fifties, Julian proved that he was still a capable and competitive prop against a much younger Welsh front row.  He was also proud to speak Welsh which he had learnt in his earlier life.

Saturday will be an opportunity to celebrate Julian’s life and to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.   There will be raffles and other fundraising, and hot food will be available after the game.

  • The GB Police Masters rugby league team will be playing their home fixtures in 2022 at Manor Park. All games kick off at 2pm and admission is free.

They will play Stanley Rangers on Sunday, June 19 and Hull Warriors on Saturday, August 6.

Further information on Masters rugby league can be found at:


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