A 27-year-old rugby player has died suddenly at his home after feeling unwell following a session at the gym.
Billy Hardy, from Pocklington, East Yorkshire, who had played a competitive game for Hull Ionians just seven days prior, passed away unexpectedly just days after Christmas on December 28.
It is understood Mr Hardy, who made his name playing for Pocklington RUFC before joining Hull Ionians in the summer of 2018, returned home from the gym feeling unwell before he died.
Both clubs that Mr Hardy played for have paid tribute to the rugby player who has been credited as playing an important role in Hull Ionians being crowned champions of the National 2 North last season.
Billy Hardy (pictured), 27, from Pocklington, East Yorkshire, died suddenly at his home just days after Christmas on December 28
The rugby player, who made his name playing for Pocklington RUFC before joining Hull Ionians in the summer of 2018, returned home from the gym feeling unwell before he died
A minute’s silence will also be observed during the club’s next game at home against Chinnor on January 4, Hull Live reports.
Following the rugby player’s death, Hull Ionians’s club secretary Chris Taylor penned an emotional statement which read: ‘It is with the deepest sadness and regret that the club must announce the passing of Billy Hardy.
‘Billy was only in his second season at the club but during that short time. Billy had established himself as an important and most popular member of our 1st XV playing squad.
‘Billy joined Hull Ionians in the summer of 2018 from our good friends and East Yorkshire neighbours Pocklington RUFC. Billy played 26 games for the club and scored three tries.
‘I must admit that when I first saw Billy, his size did make me wonder if we had signed a new prop forward but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
‘Billy started with us on the wing and later moved across to centre as his skills, his strength, and his willingness to carry the ball into contact became more apparent.
‘Despite a few weeks out with annoying injuries, Billy played an important part in the club being crowned as champions of National 2 North last season.
‘A great achievement in Billy’s first season with us. Playing in National 1 this season, Billy had caused problems for several more established club defences and it was good to see him score his third try for the club, only a few weeks ago, away at Plymouth.
Mr Hardy has been credited as playing an important role in Hull Ionians being crowned champions of the National 2 North last season
‘It is always difficult to know what to say when we lose a club member but when we lose someone so young, happy and well liked as Billy, it is especially hard.
‘Billy will be sorely missed at the club and all our thoughts are with Billy’s family and friends at this most difficult of times. The club will provide further details as they are made available.’
Mr Hardy, who played for Hull Ionians on December 21, played as a strong threequarter for Pocklington RUFC before entering semi-pro rugby and playing for Hull Ionians.
The rugby player’s former club Pocklington RUFC, also paid tribute to the star, who played for them for seven seasons, and a spokesman for the club said they were ‘shocked and saddened’ at the news of Mr Hardy’s death.
They said they would also observe a minute’s silence at their match against West Hartlepool this Saturday.
A statement shared on the Hull Ionians RUFC’s Facebook page paid tribute to the ruby player who ‘established himself as an important and most popular member’ of the 1st XV playing squad
Mr Hardy’s former club Pocklington RUFC, also paid tribute to the star on social media
A spokesman for Pocklington RUFC said: ‘Pocklington RUFC was stunned and saddened at the weekend with the tragic news that Billy Hardy had died suddenly at home.
‘Billy, 27, starred for Pocklington as a strong running three-quarter before stepping up to play semi-pro rugby for Hull Ionians in the national leagues a couple of seasons ago.
‘He played for Ionians 1sts on December 21 but died on Saturday after returning home from the gym and complaining of feeling unwell.
‘After making his mark as a junior for all Pocklington’s main sports clubs, rugby, football and cricket, he began his senior sporting career as a teenage central defender in Pocklington Town’s 1st XI; then followed in the footsteps of his father, also Billy, to switch from a leading local soccer player to be an equally good performer at rugby.
‘Tragically, his father also died suddenly less than two years ago, and bizarrely Pocklington will observe a minutes silence this Saturday for ”Young Billy” before the league game v West Hartlepool – the same teams lined up for a similar tribute at West Hartlepool to ‘Old Billy’ in April 2017.
‘After seven seasons at Percy Road as a powerful back who scared regular tries, which included two league title triumphs in 2012 and 2017, Billy decided to play at a higher level at Hull in 2018 and was part of Ionians promotion winning side last year.
‘But he had recently stated his intention of returning to his Pocklington rugby roots later in his career.
‘The thoughts of all at the club are with his girlfriend, family and friends.’