TREBLE winners Bradford Salem celebrate their centenary next season and, for most of their 100 years, the Lamb family have featured prominently.

For example, Tim, now 82, was a fresh-faced teenager who was part of their Yorkshire Shield winning side of 1962 - the second of their record five successes in that competition as they had beaten Castleford at Lidget Green two years previously.

And his son Craig captained Salem to victories at Twickenham in the Provincial Insurance Cup in 1991 and 1992, amazingly against the same team Bicester, despite an entry of some 512 clubs each season.

To square the circle, Tim was a spectator as the Heaton-based club won the last leg of their 2023-24 treble as they defeated Keighley 40-19 in the Shield final at Doncaster on Saturday, May 18.

Lamb snr, who as far as he is aware is one of only two members of that 1962 Shield winning team who are still alive (Roger Laycock is believed to be the other), was hooker that day (“I never played anywhere else”).

“The game was against York RI at Stacks Field, Ilkley, and an elderly gentleman came up to me - he was probably about 70 - when we were coming off the field and said, ‘How do you feel?’

“My answer, and remember I was only 18, was ‘I am f***ing knackered’, which was fairly honest.

“One of my team-mates came up to me and said, ‘Do you know what that was?’. I said, ‘I haven’t a clue’. I didn’t know him from Adam, and my colleague said, ‘That was Dudley Ackroyd.”

“The elderly gentleman asked me a question and I simply answered it.”

Ackroyd, who, Lamb remembers, hurriedly went away - perhaps he didn’t like the fruity language - was the man who set up Salem Sports Club in 1924 (they owned the land at Leylands Lane) and ran the Congregational Church alongside his brother Verney, both of them being millionaires, having earned their fortunes in the flourishing Bradford textile industry of the early 1900s.

They formed the Salem Young Men’s Class, also known as the Salem brotherhood, which was open to males aged 16 or over.

Sports played by Salem were cricket, football, tennis, crown green bowling and water polo, but only cricket and rugby union now survive, with the cricket team playing at Salem’s old ground at nearby Garden Lane (‘Yorkshire Ripper’ Peter Sutcliffe’s house used to overlook the pitch), while the soccer team folded in the early 1980s.

As for winning the treble, Lamb snr admitted: “This is beyond comprehension. I wouldn’t have thought that this was possible because of the strength in depth that you need, and we are as high up the ladder as we have been in donkey’s years.

“To have a season like this you don’t need to pick up many injuries, or maybe in a winning side, players don’t own up to being injured. If you are on a losing side, then maybe you’re not as keen.”

Champions of Counties One Yorkshire and also winners of the Papa John’s Community Cup North One Plate, Salem will be playing in Regional Two North East next season.

The last time that Salem were this high up the pecking order was in 1998-99 when they were in North Three East.

There is an irony about that as Salem, thinking that only two clubs would be relegated that season, thought that they were safe in third from bottom after defeating Sunderland 24-0 at Shay Lane.

However, they were subsequently told by local rugby union administrative icon Leslie ‘Legs’ Bentley that three were going to be relegated and Salem were demoted, rendering their last match irrelevant, which they lost 25-15 at home to third-placed South Shields Westoe.

Salem finished that campaign on 12 points, with Sunderland (10 points) and Thornensians (2) also being demoted.

Lamb, who now lives in Thornton-le-Dale on the North York Moors, admitted: “I will watch Salem more next season as (despite going into a regional league) they are nearly all Yorkshire clubs, and the away games are easier for me to get to than the home games.

“Malton & Norton are just down the road from me, and I think that I will sponsor that match as I have a couple of friends there.”

As for the defeat of Keighley in the Shield final, Lamb said: “It was a curate’s egg of a performance. We have a habit of getting so far in front that we think that it is all over - we have done this at least a couple of times this season - and we allow these teams back into the contest.

“What Salem have to realise is that it is not just the score, but the opposition get their tails up if they allow them to score against you and they come back even stronger, and we have to stop them doing that.

“The way to win is to make it worse for the other side, but that is just the way that I was brought up, but when we played, we didn’t score as many tries.

“We played on mudbaths where we played up and down the touchline as that was the only place where there was any grass, and they don’t have as many scrums as in my day. When we played, we used to scrummage all afternoon, which suited me!”