ALMOST 70 years of Rugby Union history at Widnes Recreation Club is in jeopardy.

Halton RUFC, who took on the 15-a-side mantle from predecessors Widnes ICI RUFC, fear for their future in the game.

A crisis meeting has been called for Wednesday, July 19 (7pm) in the hope of thrashing out a future in some shape or form for the Liverpool Road outfit.

Dwindling player numbers is a major worry and last season's captain John Parker is anxious not to see tradition die.

He said: 'With players leaving, the future of the club is in doubt and it could fold.

'We've lost a couple to Widnes RUFC and a few to West Bank Bears Amateur Rugby League Club who share Widnes Rec with us - we have lost four or five players to the Bears over the last 18 months or so. We are struggling.'

The new season starts with cup matches at the end of August.

But worries remain that Halton, a top-half side last season in Euromanx South Lancs-Cheshire Three of the Powergen Northern Division, may not be able to continue.

Parker has been a player at the club for eight years while his dad Stewart has had 30 years of involvement on the field and off.

The skipper added: 'There will have been a rugby union club playing at the Widnes Rec for 70 years next year.

'We want to try to keep the club going - even if it's only for another season.

'We need to discuss at the meeting where we are going go to; if we can get a team and have enough players to carry on in the league.

'Otherwise, there is the option of playing social rugby and maybe twice a month get a friendly game.'

Another possibility is a merger with another club.

'I would rather merge and try to keep our name in some way rather than fold and lose our history,' added the Halton captain.

If anyone is interested in playing rugby union for Halton next season or aiding its survival, they are asked to attend the meeting or call John Parker on 0151 420 5607.