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Saturday, 28 March 2015

“I’ve got to live here lad”

21st November 1959    Great Britain 11  v  Australia 10                        Leeds

In 1959, the Kangaroos again thought they had won the elusive Ashes Trophy when Barry Muir scored a try under the posts but referee Gelder, to everybody’s amazement, ruled forward pass. They felt particularly aggrieved because they also hit a post and also questioned the validity of a Great Britain try. After the match, Kangaroos centre Harry Wells angrily confronted Gelder, and said:

“You’re a thief and you cheated us”

Gelder replied,

“I’ve got to live here lad”

Great Britain
 went on to win the third and deciding test 18-12 to win the series

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Station Road, Swinton - The Aussie Graveyard

6th November 1948     Great Britain 17  Australia 6          Swinton

Despite the baffling omission of their captain Len Smith, the Kangaroo tourists played their part in a great First Test matches as Great Britain won 23-21. Their form deserted them and they lost four games in a row before the Second Test at Station Road, Swinton.  Before the game, the players paid homage at the corner of the ground where Joe “Chimpy” Busch had been famously been denied in 1930 but they lost the match and The Ashes 17-6. Station Road, once again proved to be the graveyard of the Aussies as it hosted another British Ashes triumph. A 23-9 win for Great Britain at Bradford resulted in only the second ever whitewash in Ashes history.

Sadly Station Road, Swinton is a now a housing estate.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Alan Prescott Plays on with a Broken Arm

Alan Prescott

5th July 1958    Australia  18 v Great Britain  25            Brisbane

“We’d lost the first test and, whether the tour was a success or not depended on the second game. We got off to a shocking start losing Dave Bolton and Jim Challinor and Alan broke his arm. We didn’t know for certain it was broken but we guessed it was. He was asked to go to hospital at half time but refused because he reckoned he could still provide an obstacle for the Australians if he threw himself in front of them and he did just that. I don’t know how he did it but he did. It was a double break from what I could gather afterwards and it finished his career really. Whether it was bravery or bloody madness, I couldn’t make my mind up at the time! 

The third game was a question of doing it for Alan in his absence. We owed him something and came up with a big win.”      – Great Britain centre Eric Ashton.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Controversy in a Rare Scoreless Test

January 4th 1930           The Lions 0 v Australia 0                      Swinton

In 1930 at Swinton near Manchester, in the third and deciding TestAustralia’s half-back Joe “Chimpy” Busch picked the ball up at the scrum base and ran 20 m for what seemed like a match winning and Ashes winning score. Busch and his team were ecstatic but referee Bob Robinson over-turned his original decision to award the try after consulting the touch judge.

Things didn’t improve for the Kangaroos when they were beaten 3-0 in 1933

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Australia win the Ashes for the first time - or did they?

1st January 1912          Northern Union  8  Australia 33         Birmingham

The 1911-12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was the second ever Kangaroo tour and was actually a tour by an Australasian team (it included four New Zealand players) rather than the Australian team alone. They became the first tourists to win the Ashes and the last to do so on British soil for over half a century.

After 1922 the Great Britain RL team became known as the Lions which was many years before the RU team followed suit. In the same year they side beat Australia 6-0 at Salford to win back the Ashes. They would not be lost again until 1950.

In 1928, the City Tattersalls Club in Sydney, Australia donated The Ashes trophy

Thursday, 26 February 2015

First Ever Ashes Test Match

The Rugby League Ashes

The Ashes is the name given to the trophy awarded to the winner of a Rugby League test series between Great Britain and Australia. The format used is usually that three matches are played, with the winning team being decided on the basis of most matches won.

The team representing Great Britain were originally known as the Northern Union after the sport’s govorning body and the team representing Australia were and still are known as the Kangaroos

First Ever Ashes Test Match

December 12 1908                  Northern Union 22 Australia 22          London

 dominated the match early on and led by 14-5 at half-time. They seemed assured of victory when leading 17-5 early in the second half but Australia fought back with tries from Devereaux and O'Malley to bring the score to 17-15 to the Northern Union . The home side scored another try to lead 20-15 with time fast running out but with five minutes to go the great Dally Messenger intercepted near his own try line. He evaded the chasing defenders to within sight of the try line where he passed to Devereaux who crashed over under the posts. Messenger kicked the goal and the Kangaroos took the lead for the first time at 22-20. Unfortunately for them, the Northern Union were awarded a last minute penalty for obstruction and when they kicked the goal the match ended as draw.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Invincibles

30th October 1982         Great Britain 4  Australia 40     Hull

Australia's side for the first Test was built around the new breed of young players  Grothe, Pearce, Meninga, Kenny and Sterling. Great Britain included five players aged over the age of thirty and they were competitive in the first half although Australia led 10-4 at half time. In the second half, the Kangaroos demonstrated their superlative skills including pace, guile, teamwork and fitness and scored six stunning tries in the process. The Great Britain team, the crowd and the game in  the UK were stunned and have not really recovered to this day.

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Kumuls from Papua New Guinea

6th July 1975                   Papua New Guinea  12   v   England  40      Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea is the only country in the world where Rugby League is regarded as the national sport. The national team nicknamed The Kumuls played their first international match in 1975 against the returning England World Cup squad although they lost 40 -12. Two years later they thrashed France 37 -6 and made their first overseas tour to Europe in 1979

Sunday, 8 February 2015

"Everybody's saying go go go and he goes"

2nd November 1972          Great Britain 10  v  Australia 10     Lyon

The 1972 World Cup was played in France and Great Britain and Australia fought their way through to the Final. Clive Sullivan and Mick (Stevo) Stephenson scored tries for Great Britain and Terry Clawson kicked a goal. Artie Beetson and John O’Neill replied for Australia which took the game into extra time although no further points were scored and Great Britain were declared the winners courtesy of their superior record in the group stages of the competition. The game is best remembered for the brilliant try by Clive Sullivan and the accompanying commentary by Eddie Waring. The Australians felt hard done by due to a Graeme Langlands try disallowed for offside. This was the last time to date that a UK side has won a major International Rugby League trophy

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The First World Cup Final

13 November 1954            France 12  Great Britain 16     Parc de Princes, Paris

The First Rugby League World Cup was organized by the French RL under Paul Barriere and took place in France in 1954. This was 33 years before the first RU equivalent. AustraliaFrance, GB and NZ took part and the teams were evenly matched although GB were forced, through injuries/withdrawals, to select an inexperienced squad led by Scotsman Dave Valentine. It was a pleasant surprise when they made the final against the home team. France led early in the second half due to a try from Cantoni but Great Britain fought back with their their dominance in the forwards and centre Phil Jackson playing a starring role. France had played a tough match against Australia in Nantes two days earlier. The BBC broadcast the match live in the UK which was a novelty for the time


        Dave Valentine