Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont has led the tributes to Martyn Ridyard who has today joined Betfred Championship rivals Swinton Lions.
Ridyard will be forever remembered by all involved with his hometown club, especially the supporters who proudly regard him as one of their own.
In 2019, Ridyard became only the third player in history to score 2,000 points for Leigh, emulating Club legends John Woods and the late Jimmy Ledgard. He has scored more than 2,000 points for Leigh in 250 games, a tally that includes 80 tries.
A product of the famous Leigh Miners Rangers Community Club, Ridyard turned professional with his hometown club in 2009 earning #HN1314 after making his debut in the first official game at Leigh Sports Village against London Skolars. His fourth-minute try registered the first points at the stadium and set up Leigh for a 74-6 win.
His performances in the Northern Rail Cup Final successes of 2011 and 2013 will never be forgotten. In 2014 he won the Tom Bergin Trophy as Man of the Match in the Championship Grand Final win over Featherstone Rovers at Headingley.
Ridyard was an instrumental member of the squad which famously achieved promotion to Super League in 2016. His long-range try in the win over Huddersfield Giants at the Sports Village provided one of the most enduring images in the Club’s recent history.
In 2018, Ridyard enjoyed a season at Featherstone with his final game for the Club ironically coming against Leigh in the Betfred Championship Shield. Featherstone won that game 42-10 but it was a measure of Ridyard’s popularity that the travelling fans still sang his name despite him being on the opposition.
Ridyard returned to the Leigh for 2019 and it was like he’d never been away, helping to guide Leigh to another play-off place with his consistent performances.
Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “Martyn has been a great servant to Leigh Centurions and in mine and many people’s eyes will be regarded as a legend of the Club, akin to this era’s version of our legend John Woods.
“His point-scoring record speaks for itself and needs no testimony. More importantly, Martyn has been the consummate professional and no doubt will continue to be so – and that will last well beyond his playing years.
“He has had a massive contribution to the Club on and off the field and also to the town in general and in particular its amateur clubs. Martyn is also a player that hasn’t taken much from the club over his years of service and that is also testament to his loyalty to his home town team. Others have taken in a very short period what he has had over many years.
“I wish him all the success in his future and hope that our loyal fans will support what is left of his testimonial that has been severely hampered by the current pandemic. Martyn’s signing for Swinton is a big statement of their intent to progress in the division. They are a local club and have a local coach and Leyther in Stuart Littler. I wish them all the success except of course when they cross swords with us.
“Martyn will always be welcome at our club and as my personal guest whenever he wishes and I can extend that offer on behalf of all of the operational board of directors at the club who share all of my sentiments equally.”
Ridyard was sponsored by RM Couriers in 2020.