- Hunslet Hawks
Hunslet Hawks Hawk Club information Full name Hunslet Hawks Rugby League Football Club Website www.hunslethawksrl.co.uk Colours Myrtle
Founded 1883 Current details Ground(s) South Leeds Stadium Coach(s) Paul March Competition Championship One
Hunslet Hawks is a professional rugby league club based in Hunslet, West Yorkshire, England. The club, sometimes known as 'the Parksiders' after their former stadium, are currently champions of Championship One.
A special general meeting of the Hunslet Cricket Club was held on the 21st May, 1883, the committee resolved to grant two local teams: Albion and Excelsior the sum of £130 to form the Hunslet Rugby Club based at Woodhouse Hill. The name of the cricket club was also changed to Hunslet Cricket and Football Club. At the end of that year the Imperial side joined the Hunslet club. The players initially wore blue and white quartered shirts.
Hunslet announced their arrival the following season by beating Leeds St John's (later to become Leeds RLFC) in the third round of the Yorkshire Cup. Better fixtures drew larger crowds and as a result the landlord wanted to put up the rent. The search was on for another ground, club officials purchased at little cost 10.25 acres (41,500 m2) of waste land at Hunslet Carr from the Low Moor Iron and Coal Company and had to shift 2,000 tons of rubbish to create what would become Parkside, which they moved to in 1888.
The first game at Parkside was played on 11 February 1888, when they played and beat Mirfield. Just four seasons later Hunslet won their first trophy, the Yorkshire Cup, beating Leeds. In 1895, Hunslet were one of the twenty-one clubs that broke away from the Rugby Football Union, and joined the Northern Union. Hunslet adopted chocolate and white shirts in the 1890s.
Billy Batten signed for Hunslet as a seventeen-year-old in 1905.
In the 1905/06 season Hunslet won the Yorkshire Cup. They were the first club to win All Four Cups, which they did in the 1907/08 season. They changed their colours to chocolate and white after this feat. Powered by a pack known as the Terrible Six, Hunslet were led by Albert Goldthorpe, already in his late thirties but a dominant figure in the early years of the code. Many players left Parkside following this success either being transferred to other clubs or going into retirement.
After Batten failed to come to terms with Hunslet in 1912, he was transferred to Hull for the then record sum of £600. In 1921, Harold Buck became the game’s first £1,000 transfer when he moved from Hunslet to Leeds. According to some sources, the deal included a player in part exchange.
In 1924, the club's record attendance was set at 24,700 for a third round Challenge Cup match.
In the 1920s, the club played in white shirts, but the players used to steal them for work. Determined to prevent this happening, the club changed to coloured jerseys in 1932. They could not use the Leeds city colours as rivals Leeds wore those, so Hunslet decided to adopt the University of Leeds colours of myrtle white and flame red having been given new kit by the university.
Hunslet celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1933/34. The club did this in some style as Hunslet beat Widnes at Wembley Stadium in the Challenge Cup Final. Hunslet reached the RL Championship Final in 1938 meeting their neighbours Leeds in the only all-Leeds final. The match was played at the Elland Road football ground, to accommodate a huge demand from the city’s rugby league supporters. Over 54,000 people watched the game, a then record for a match in England, Hunslet triumphed 8–2 to take the title for the second time in the club’s history.
In the late 1930s the club was doing well and played in front of large crowds, this wave of success was only halted by the Second World War, Hunslet dropped out of the wartime Yorkshire league in 1942/43 but returned to the competition in 1943/44.
Hunslet's fanbase went into decline as post-war slum clearances changed what had been a residential area into an industrial one. Hunslet tried to keep the success going but never quite achieved it despite reaching a number of semi-finals and finals. However, Hunslet produced a number of international players as well as a respectable league record. The club always had strength in a supply of local talent mixed with both Welsh and Australian imports.
Hunslet stopped being a multi-sport members club in 1951 and became a limited company. The new status as rugby league club saw a decline in Parkside being used by other sports and other members of the community.
In the 1960s the club were classic underachievers. Although the players were a group of experienced and talented people they were unable to harness their skills to best effect. This changed when Fred Ward was appointed player-coach at the start of the 1962/63 season. It was decided that the team never looked that imposing in green and a decision was made to go back to white, this time with two chocolate hoops. In his first season, Hunslet won the Second Division Championship and secured a position in the top division as well as winning the 1962 Yorkshire Cup Final over Hull Kingston Rovers.
Hunslet lost in the 1965 Yorkshire Cup final against Bradford Northern and that same year reached the semi final of the Challenge Cup. In order to avoid going on black and white television against Wakefield who also wore hoops in the middle of their shirt, the club got a strip with a chocolate V. They won the semi-final and went to Wembley with it, stitching green blazer badges to the shirt. They lost the final narrowly 20–16 to Wigan. The side were again split up by transfers and retirements. Just two years later in 1967 the dream was over. Ward left the club and with that the club entered free fall.
Parkside's stand was burned down by vandals in 1971. Parkside was then sold off to an industrial developer for around £300,000 in 1972. The last game at Parkside was on 21 April 1973 against York. Parkside was demolished and Hunslet became tenants at the Elland Road Greyhound Stadium. By July 1973, the club had folded.
Due to the efforts of their former Great Britain forward Geoff Gunney (MBE), local businessmen and supporters the club managed to reform as New Hunslet for the 1973/74 season and moved to the Leeds Greyhound Stadium and erected iron American football posts. In 1974, New Hunslet adopted green and white as team colours because the traditional myrtle white and flame colours were still registered to the former Parkside-based club, and they wouldn't release them. The stay at the greyhound stadium was cut short when the owners closed the ground.
In 1978, coach Bill Ramsey put a lot of pressure on the RFL and finally got permission to use the traditional colours. The club reverted to Hunslet for the 1979/80 season. The next ground to host Hunslet was Mount Pleasant, Batley, before Hunslet moved to Leeds United's Elland Road football stadium then owned by Leeds City Council. After leaving Elland Road, Hunslet had a brief spell at Bramley.
The 1990s and onwards
On 19 November 1995, the club, now known as Hunslet Hawks, moved to the South Leeds Stadium, only about half a mile from Parkside. On that day, Leigh were the guests at Hunslet's first home game for twenty-two years. They then narrowly missed out on promotion from Division Two in 1996.
In 1997 the Hawks appeared at Wembley Stadium for the first time since 1965 in the first (and last) Challenge Cup Plate Final but were beaten by Hull Kingston Rovers 60–14. Also in that year, the Hawks were promoted to the First Division as champions.
In 1999 as a possible merger between Hunslet and Bramley was debated. In 1999 Hunslet won the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final against Dewsbury 12–11 at Headingley. After that game the Hawks were denied entry to Super League by the Rugby Football League who cited a document called 'Framing the Future' as justification. This caused a number of players to leave the club and for the average attendance to fall by more than 1,200 to 800.
Paul March is the current player/coach at Hunslet, joining midway through the 2009 season following the resignation of Graeme Hallas. March guided Hunslet to a 6th place finish and a play-off spot in Championship 1. Hunslet travelled to Blackpool in the first week of the play-offs winning 18–21 to set up a elimination semi-final against Oldham in which Hunslet were comfortably beaten 54–30.
In 2010 Paul March led Hunslet to their first silverware for over 11 years by securing the Co-operative Championship 1 title.
No Nat Player Position Former Club 1 Stuart Kain Full Back Featherstone Rovers 2 Ritchie Barnett Wing Sheffield Eagles 3 Matthew Fox Centre 4 David Clayton Centre York City Knights 5 Waine Pryce Wing Featherstone Rovers 6 Danny Grimshaw Stand Off York City Knights 7 Paul March Half Back York City Knights 8 Adam Sullivan Prop York City Knights 9 Hooker 10 James Houston Prop Featherstone Rovers 11 Richard Blakeway Second Row 12 Tom Haughey Second Row Featherstone Rovers 13 David March Loose Forward 14 Luke Haigh Hooker 15 16 John Oakes Centre 17 Robert Kelly Second Row 18 Joe Helme Prop 19 Neil Lowe Prop Keighley Cougars 20 Andrew Yates Loose Forward 21 Tabua Cakacaka Prop Gateshead Thunder 22 Danny Ratcliffe Half Back York City Knights 23 Joe McLocklan Hooker South Wales Scorpions 24 Matthew Harding Centre Castleford Tigers 25 Steve Dooler Second Row Featherstone Rovers 26 Louis Stead Hooker Featherstone Lions 27 Elliott Kear Full Back Crusaders – on loan 28 Dennis Tuffour Wing York City Knights 29 Jack Latus Centre Harlequins 30 Chris Hall Centre Morley R.F.C.
Players earning International Caps while at Hunslet
- Eric Batten won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1938 Wales, in 1939 France, Wales, in 1940 Wales, in 1941 Wales, in 1943 Wales, while at Bradford: in 1944 Wales, in 1945 Wales (2 matches), in 1946 France (2 matches), Wales, in 1947 France, in 1948 France, and won caps for Great Britain while at Bradford in 1946 Australia (2 matches), New Zealand, in 1947 New Zealand
- William "Billy" Batten won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1908 Wales (2 matches), in 1908–09 Australia (3 matches), Wales, in 1910 Wales, in 1911–12 Australia (2 matches), in 1912 Wales, in 1913 Wales, while at Hull in 1921 Wales, Other Nations, in 1922 Wales, in 1923 Wales, and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1908 New Zealand, in 1908 Australia (3 matches), in 1910 Australia (2 matches), New Zealand, in 1911 Australia (2 matches), while at Hull in 1921 Australia
- Harry Beverley won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1935 against Wales, in 1936 against France, in 1937 against France, in 1938 against Wales, and France, and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1936 against Australia (3 matches), in 1937 against Australia, and while at Halifax in 1937 against Australia (2 matches).
- Alfred "Alf" 'Ginger' Burnell won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1950 France, in 1951 Wales, France, in 1952 Wales, and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1951 New Zealand (2 matches), in 1954 New Zealand won caps for British Empire XIII while at Hunslet in 1945+ ?-caps
- Arthur Clues won caps for Australia while at Wests, and won caps for Other Nations while at Leeds, and Hunslet
- Hector Crowther a won cap for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1930 against Australia
- Frank Davies won a cap for Wales while at Hunslet in 1978 against England
- John "Jack" Evans won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1951 New Zealand, in 1952 Australia (3 matches)
- Kenneth "Ken"/"Kenny" Eyre (1965 Challenge Cup Runner-up) won a cap for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1965 against New Zealand
- Brian Gabbitas won a cap for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1959 against France
- Geoffrey "Geoff" Gunney (MBE) (1965 Challenge Cup Runner-up) won caps for Great Britain while at? Hunslet in 1954 New Zealand (3 matches), in 1956 Australia, in 1957 France (3 matches), France, New Zealand, in 1964 France, in 1965 France (World Cup in 1957 2-caps)
- Tyssul "Tuss" Griffiths won caps Wales while at Hunslet, and Doncaster in 1946…1951 2-caps
- Dennis Hartley won a cap for England while at Castleford in 1968 against Wales, and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1964 against France (2 matches), while at Castleford in 1968 against France, in 1969 against France, in 1970 against Australia (2 matches), New Zealand (2 matches), and in the 1970 Rugby League World Cup against Australia, France and Australia
- Robert 'Iain' Higgins won caps for Scotland while at London Broncos, and Hunslet 1997…2001 1-cap + 1-cap (sub)
- John Higson won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1908 against Australia, and in 1909 against Australia
- Granville James won caps for Wales while at Hunslet in 1950…1953 5-caps
- David "Dai" Jenkins won caps for Wales while at Hunslet in 1927…1932 4-caps
- Albert Jenkinson won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1911 Australia, in 1912 Wales, in 1913 Wales, and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1911–12 Australia (2 matches)
- William "Bill" Jukes won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1908 Wales, in 1909 Australia (3 matches), Wales, in 1910 Wales (2 matches), in 1911 Australia (2 matches), and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1908–09 Australia (3 matches), in 1910 Australia (2 matches), New Zealand
- Phillip "Phil" Morgan won caps for Wales while at Hunslet in 1969 against France, England, and France, and in 1970 against France, and England, in 1969…1970 4-caps + 1 (sub)
- Cyril Morrell won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1938 France, Wales, in 1939 France
- Oliver Morris won caps for Wales while at Hunslet, and Leeds in 1938…1941 5-caps
- Herbert Place won a cap for England while at Hunslet in 1909 Wales
- Bernard Prior won a cap for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1966 France
- William "Bill" Ramsey (1965 Challenge Cup Runner-up?) won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1965 New Zealand (2 matches), in 1966 France, Australia (2 matches), New Zealand (2 matches), while at Leeds in 1974 New Zealand.
- Charles "Charlie" Sage won caps for Wales while at Hunslet in 1925 against England (2-matches)
- Brian Shaw won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1956 Australia (2 matches), in 1960 France, Australia, France, in 1961 France (World Cup in 1960 2-caps)
- Geoffrey "Geoff" Shelton won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1964 against France (2 matches), in 1965 against New Zealand (3 matches), and in 1966 against Australia (2 matches)
- Frederick "Fred" Smith won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1909 Wales, in 1910 Wales (2 matches), in 1911 Wales, Australia (2 matches), in 1912 Wales
- Leonard "Len" Smith won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1935 France
- Samuel "Sam" Smith won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1955 Other Nations, in 1956 France, and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet ?-caps (World Cup in 1954 4-caps)
- Colin Stansfield won a cap for England while at Hunslet in 1945 Wales
- William "Billy" Thornton won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1943 Wales
- Cec Thompson won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1951 New Zealand (2 matches) won caps for British Empire XIII while at Hunslet in 1952 Wales
- George Todd won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1935 France, Wales, in 1936 Wales
- Charlie Wabo won caps for Papua New Guinea while at Hunslet
- John "Jack" Walkington won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1930 Other Nations, in 1931 Wales, in 1938 Wales, in 1944 Wales
- Leslie "Les" White won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1933 Australia, and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1932 Australia (3 matches), New Zealand (2 matches), in 1933 Australia (2 matches)
- Clifford "Cliff" Williams won a cap for Wales while at Hunslet in 1970 1-cap
- Leslie "Les" Williams won caps for Wales (RU) while at Llanelli RFC in 1947 against England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, and while at Cardiff RFC in 1947 against Australia, in 1948 against Ireland, and in 1949 against England, and won caps for Wales (RL) while at Hunslet 1949…1953 15-caps
- Richard "Dickie" Williams won caps for Wales while at Leeds 13-caps?, and won caps for Great Britain while at Leeds, while at Hunslet, in 1948…54 12-caps
- Harry Wilson won caps for England while at Hunslet in 1906 Other Nations, in 1908 New Zealand, and won caps for Great Britain while at Hunslet in 1908 New Zealand (3 matches)
Other Notable Players
These players have either; won Challenge Cup, Rugby Football League Championship, Yorkshire Cup, Yorkshire League, have received a Testimonial match, were international representatives before, or after, their time at Hunslet, or are notable outside of rugby league.
- Kieran Allen
- Frank Andrews ≥1913
- Andrew Ballot (#13) circa-1990s
- Edward "Eddie" Bennett circa-1951
- Paul Briers (Testimonial match 1985)
- Peter Brown
- Harold Buck circa-1920
- Walter Burnell circa-1951
- Tabua Cakacaka
- Frank "Dolly" Dawson circa-1925
- Steve Diamond
- St. John Ellis
- John "Jack" Evans circa-1951
- Peter Fox
- Philip "Phil" Gibson (Testimonial match 1989)
- David Gillespie
- William "Billy" Gilston
- Albert Goldthorpe
- Walter Goldthorpe
- Alan Griffiths (Testimonial match 1981)
- Edward "Eddie" Guerin
- Paul Harkin
- Tom Haughey
- Bernard Hepton (Yorkshire Cup winner 1953?), later TV actor famous for playing Albert Foiret in 'Secret Army'
- Vic Hey
- Mark Hohn
- James Houston
- Robert Jones
- Neil Kelly
- Graham King (Testimonial match 1988)
- William "Billy" Langton (Scored in every match of 1958–59 season) (Testimonial match 1965)
- Barry Lee (1965 Challenge Cup Runner-up)
- Neil Lowe
- James Lowes
- David March
- Paul March
- Keith Mitchell (Testimonial match 1992)
- David Mycoe
- Sonny Nickle
- William "Willie" O'Neill (#2/#5) circa-1946
- Jimmy O'Sullivan 1937-38 Championship winner
- Alan Preece (Testimonial match 1967)
- John "Jack" Randall
- Donald "Don" Rees circa-1951
- Wayne Reittie
- Jason Robinson
- Sidney "Sid" Rookes born circa-1921
- Roy Sampson (Testimonial match 1993)
- Ian Smales
- David "Dave" Smith (#2/#5) circa 1950/60s
- Paul Sterling
- Jeffrey "Jeff" Stevenson
- Kenneth "Kenny" Sykes (Testimonial match 1982)
- Arthur Talbot circa-1951
- Latham Tawhai
- Jamie Thackray
- Thomas "Tosh" Thornton circa-1951
- Mark Tolson 1934 Challenge Cup Winner
- James "Jim" Traill Missed 1934 Challenge Cup With Broken Arm Sustained In Semi-Final (father of Kenneth "Ken" Traill)
- Kenneth "Ken" Traill (son of James "Jim" Traill)
- Frank Wagstaff circa-1935
- Gordon Waite circa-1951
- Frederick "Fred" Ward (1965 Challenge Cup Runner-up & Captain)
- Frank Watson circa-1946
- Frederick "Freddie" Williamson circa-1951
- Ernest Winter
- John "Johnny" Wolford
- Matt Wray
- Edgar Wrigley
- ^ http://www.hunslethawksrl.co.uk/march-paul-i423.html
- ^ Hunslet RLFC at hunslet.org
- Hunslet official site
- Hunslet Hawks forum on rlfans.com
- National League website
- Hunslet Hawks Fans Forums – RugbyLeague.org
- Pictorial history of rugby league in Hunslet
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