Former skipper Jimmy Browne calls time on Harrogate Rugby career

Jimmy Browne
Jimmy Browne

Former Harrogate Rugby captain Jimmy Browne has announced his retirement from first team duties.

Browne, 30, led Gate back into National Two North at the end of the 2012/13 season and has pulled on the red, black and gold shirt for eight years.

The prop forward spent most of this season’s campaign on the sidelines with a knee problem, but he still represented Gate 24 times.

The injury, and Gate’s intentions to challenge at the top of the league next season, means Browne can no longer commit to the expectations of coach Mike Aspinall.

Browne said: “Things in life are catching up on me. Looking at where the club wants to be going, I can’t commit.

“Other commitments are taking a forefront in my life. I think it’s right for me.

“Everything seems to be going brilliantly with the club. We are making the right strides in the right direction.

“But it’s my time to take a step back.

“Aspy and the backroom staff are doing a cracking job there. The club is just one big family.

“Next season we should be pushing for the top three and looking for promotion.”

Browne started his rugby career in Nottingham before his university studies brought him to Leeds.

While at university, the forward signed for Leeds Tykes (now Leeds Carnegie) and was part of the former Premiership side’s academy.

But at 21, he signed for Harrogate and has made 152 appearance for the Claro Road outfit.

And, despite the club navigating through financial difficulties during his spell in Harrogate, the Nottingham-born player stayed loyal to Aspinall and first team manager Graham Siswick.

His loyalty was rewarded when he captained the side throughout last year’s promotion campaign.

Aspinall said: “He’s just an outstanding bloke.

“He’s one of the guys we have built the real core of the squad around over the last two years.

“He captained the side outstandingly well, we couldn’t have got promoted without that leadership.”

Browne indicated he will continue to support the club and may turn out for Harrogate’s second-string next season. But first, he will rest his body over the summer.

Browne added: “I have played rugby all my life.

“When Saturday comes, I am going to be lost at first but it’s going to be one where I am going to enjoy a step away from the game.

“The aches and pains have been nice on a Sunday. It makes you feel like you have put in a good shift on the Saturday.

“But it’s the camaraderie with the players that I will miss the most. You play and put your bodies on the line for each other.

“There are a lot of our team that could have gone on to better teams in higher leagues but they all stuck together because we want to get Harrogate where it should be.

“We love Harrogate, and we want to do right for the club.”