PILKINGTON Recs' John Pennington may have suffered a horrific injury in the closing stages of Sunday’s North West League's Grand Final – but he still made sure he got to clutch his medal and the championship trophy.
The 29-year-old second rower sustained a compound fracture of the lower right leg as he was being tackled in the closing stages of his team's 38-16 victory against Wigan St Cuthberts.
Such was the severity of the injury that the final had to be brought to a premature end and players on both sides were left visibly distressed at the Stobart Stadium, Widnes.
However, after being carried from the field on a stretcher, John – nicknamed ‘Brett’ - asked team-mates to bring him his medal and the trophy as he lay in the medical treatment room waiting for an ambulance.
The tough forward even wanted photographs to be taken of him with the cup so he could post them on his Facebook page.
John Rees, 33, who partnered Pennington in the second row, said: “Maybe it was the adrenaline kicking in, but he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to have his medal brought to him or to get his hands on the trophy.
“He’s one tough lad – anyone who has seen how hard he runs the ball in will tell you that.”
An air ambulance was called out to nearby the stadium, however, paramedics decided to take John to hospital via a conventional ambulance.
He underwent surgery at Warrington Hospital on Monday morning and was continuing to receive treatment as the Star went to press.
The amateur club has been heartened by the amount of get well soon messages from other teams and players.
Rees added: “The staff have had many enquiries about John’s health and we are grateful for such support.
“I would also like to praise the efforts of our physiotherapist Gary Trueman who dealt with a difficult situation very professionally.
“All the lads are wishing John a swift and successful recovery. I spoke to him in hospital and considering what he has been through he was in good spirits.
“We will be holding a fundraiser for him in the coming weeks and any offers of support would be greatly appreciated.”