BREWER Sarah Waterfield threw in the towel after 23 years in the business.

She sold the Railway pub and her prize winning Sarah's Hophouse Brewery in Golborne after deciding it was time for a change.

But she soon realised that beer was in her blood, and when she spotted an advert for a steward at Leigh Rugby Union Club she decided to go for it.

That was in 2007 and since she took over and introduced her “home brew” the club has collected Camra’s Regional Club of the Year Award twice in three years.

Now Sarah is helping the club to prepare for its annual "Scrumdown Beer Festival", which runs from July 1-4 and includes beers from round the world, food and live bands.

She said: “I was in a job centre when I saw the advert. This was about 3pm and applications closed that evening. I headed off down Hand Lane to try my luck.

“I was told that there had been 40 applicants, but what the heck. I must have been pretty convincing even with my brightly coloured hair and my semi-scathing remarks that the reason they had gone through 10 stewards in 12 years was because they had never hired a woman.

“When I took over there was some suspicion about a steward who didn't know the first thing about the game, but as I pointed out, they had hired me for my skills behind the bar, not on the pitch.

“The club was in the perilous position of getting ready to stop serving cask ale. They said there was no market for it, but I convinced the committee to let me do what I'm best at and it is now the strongest seller in the club.

"A lot of the credit for this must go to the team at Coach house Brewery in Warrington, who continue to brew my bitter, which I agreed the club could use as their own.

“This is now sold as Round Ash Bitter, named after where the teams play. We serve over 150 different beers each year, from independent brewers all over the country. For a little club tucked away on the outskirts of the town centre that’s good going.

“The recognition we get from CAMRA is also invaluable. The only thing I haven't been able to improve on since joining the club, is the welcoming atmosphere."