TRIBUTES have been paid to former Keighley RLFC player Syd Phillips who has died aged 87.

Phillips was born in Widnes in 1933 but signed for arch rivals Warrington RLFC in 1952.

He played 95 games in his time there, from 1952 to 1956, scoring nine tries and one goal.

Phillips missed the 1954 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and the replay at Odsal Stadium, Bradford, and the Championship final at Maine Road, Manchester, both against Halifax, due to breaking his collar bone.

He did, however, play a prominent role the following year, 1955, when Warrington defeated Oldham 5-3 in the Championship final, again at Maine Road.

In 1956-57 Phillips went on loan to St Helens RLFC, where he played four games, before Keighley signed him.

He made his debut on August 24, 1957, losing away to York by seven points to 15, and final game was on May 2, 1964, at home against Hunslet, winning 16-10.

He played 161 games for the club, scoring 13 tries. He was an imposing, upright figure on the field and was noted for making the hard yards with his forceful running.

He was the son of one of the most prominent referees of the day, George Phillips, who had refereed all the top games at the time, including the 1939 Halifax-Salford, 1948 Wigan-Bradford Northern, 1949 Halifax-Bradford Northern and 1953 Huddersfield-St Helens Challenge Cup finals. George received the British Empire Medal for his services to the game.

Syd was a really popular player with the club and fans alike and this continued long after he had retired.

He was a notable figure in the town delivering mail, working for many years as a 'Postie', always willing to chat to the fans.

Syd leaves a daughter, Sandra, a son-in-law David, and two grandchildren.

Tribute written by David Ingham