A SUNDAY league semi-final fixture ended in dramatic style - when the players found themselves tackling a blaze.

The fire broke out in a storage building at Northallerton Town Football Club on Sunday (March 1) morning, as Romanby and Thirsk Town were playing in a semi-final in the Black Sheep Brewery Hambleton Football Combination league.

The players rushed to the scene and tried to put out the fire with a hose reel and extinguisher, before firefighters arrived on the scene and crews from Northallerton, Thirsk and Bedale tackled the blaze.

Northallerton Town FC chairman, Peter Young, said the club was “extremely grateful” to the players and firefighters.

“The players were very brave; they all attempted to fight the fire,” he said.

“The landlady rang the fire bridge and they grabbed a hose and extinguisher. It was out of control by then, but they kept it down a little until the fire crews arrived.

“North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were there very, very quickly and got the blaze under control. The fire crews then had half a dozen of us from the committee wanting to know what the damage was – they were very patient.

“But without their action we would have suffered more damage.”

The accidental fire destroyed the outside storage room, before spreading to the changing rooms, damaging the roof and electrics and causing smoke damage.

The club is looking at postponing a forthcoming fixture against Heaton Stannington on Saturday (March 7) as it carries out repairs.

It hopes to have the work complete in time for the Wensleydale League cup final on March 19. But the club is run by volunteers, who say they may need some help from the local community.

Mr Young said: “We’re not a wealthy club. We don’t make money by hiring out to other clubs - everybody who marks out the pitches or cleans the changing rooms; they’re all volunteers.

“We have two or three retired lads who come down every week who put in about 30 hours work a week.

“They’re cleaning the smoke damage and will be painting and repainting it later, but these people are the basis of the club. They allow us to play football and they make it happen. Our president, Les Hood, has been with the club for over 30 years. He’s in his seventies and it’s usually someone like him who cuts the grass, marks the pitch and paints the stands.”

Mr Young said they were grateful for offers of help they had already received from other Northern League clubs and the local community.

Anyone else who can help at the club can email Mr Young on pnyoung@tesco.net or call in at the club on Ainderby Road in Northallerton.