GROWING up next to a chip shop does not exactly sound like the ideal background for one of the country’s top sports stars – but try telling that to Marc Sneyd.
Every week, the Hull FC ace wows Super League crowds with his skill, which earned him consecutive honours by winning the Lance Todd Trophy for being man of the match in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
But what the goalkicker extraordinaire knows he picked up in Shaw – and it is not too easy to search out where he spent his formative years.
“Big Lamp Roundabout,” he answers when asked about whereabouts he grew up. “You know the chippy there? My family lives right next door to that.
“I loved growing up there. I had a good, close group of mates that I still speak to now and still get to go out with them.
“I must admit, it was pretty handy living next door to a chip shop when I was younger.
“And I still stay over there a few times during a season. Whenever Hull play a match over in Lancashire, I sleep at my parents’ house. It was the plan to do so before the Challenge Cup semi-final it was decided we would stay at a hotel the night before.”Sneyd, who admits he learned everything about the game as a junior at Waterhead Warriors, spent his early days in rugby league at Salford before heading to Castleford then moving to Hull.
He is familiar to fans around the country, largely for his distinctive kicking style which sees him turn his back on the posts.
He picked that up at Castleford when that worked the best while trying out a number of different approaches.
But his metronome-like success rate was honed in Shaw during sessions with his brother Carl, notably at George Street playing fields.
Sneyd, 28, added: “I’ve always kicked since I was young. My brother and I used to spend a lot of our time as kids goal kicking , so it’s just come from that.
“It’s all about repetitive kicking and I still do it now. I kick goals a lot on my own after training.
“My brother and I would go down the road to George’s Playing Fields in Shaw. I used to play there for 10 or 15 minutes whenever we had the time.
“We’d spend a good morning or afternoon there and we just enjoyed it.”
Sneyd’s quality has seen him catapulted into the reckoning for a place in England’s squad, plus talk of a call-up to the reformed Great Britain side which plays its first matches in 12 years against Tonga, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in October and November.
But wherever life as a rugby player takes him, he never loses touch with his roots and he has one thing he wants to try in Shaw – pie and mash at the Shaw Pie and Mash Shop on Jubilee Street.
“I’ve never been,” he admitted. “And to be honest, I’m not really sure why a pie and mash shop is in Shaw.
“But I know people who have been and they say it’s sensational. I’ll have to try it some time.”