Rugby union: Wheatley Hills’ Scully hangs up his boots

Dave Scully, ex player coach at Wheatley Hills, next to his framed shirts, including one from the 1993 Sevens World Cup. Picture: Andrew Roe
Dave Scully, ex player coach at Wheatley Hills, next to his framed shirts, including one from the 1993 Sevens World Cup. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster’s record-breaking rugby union star Dave Scully has played his last league game.

The 47-year-old, who has featured in more league games than any other player in the country, has stepped down as player coach of North One side Wheatley Hills after three years in the role.

Speaking to the Free Press shortly after making his decision, he said: “I think the time was right.”

The scrum-half, a regular in the side last season, added: “It’s a tough job being a player coach and I’d probably had enough.”

Wheatley finished the campaign fourth in the league after looking to be serious promotion contenders early on.

Scully kicked off his career at the club in the early 80s and went on to gain representative honours at Yorkshire Colts level, before being snapped up by Wakefield, then one of the top three sides in Yorkshire, in 1986.

He went on to play at Premiership level with Rotherham two years before moving on to Otley and, subsequently, Doncaster Knights and Sheffield Tigers.

He captained Yorkshire and also led the North team against the touring All Blacks in 1993.

Earlier that year the Doncaster fire fighter had helped England win the inaugural World 7s title at Murrayfield.

Scully also represented England B as well as captaining the Barbarians, but full England honours evaded him.

“I probably needed that bit of luck to get into the England team.

“But I would have been confident of giving a good account of myself had I been picked,” he said.

He is one of only a handful of players to have scored more than 100 tries in league rugby.

“As far as I know I am one of only four players to have achieved the feat,” he said. “I’m certainly the only scrum-half because the other three I know are wingers.”

Despite his retirement from first-team rugby, Scully will not be lost to the game.

He plans to turn out for the Wheatley Hills vets XV on a regular basis next season if he can keep clear of serious injuries, which he has done throughout his distinguished career.

“Obviously you need a bit of luck as well, but I think the fact that I’ve looked after myself also helped.”

He is hoping to play for the Classic Lions in the prestigious Bermuda International Veterans’ Tournament in November.

“I’ve played in the tournament, which attracts top players from all over the world, some of whom have only recently retired from international rugby, and the standards are always high.”