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
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
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
Things didn’t improve for the Kangaroos when they were beaten 3-0 in 1933
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
Alan Prescott Plays on with a Brokrn Arm
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.
“I’ve got to live here lad”
21st November 1959
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
“You’re a thief and you cheated us”
“I’ve got to live here lad”
“We were robbed”
14th July 1962
“1962 was a great side. Even the Australians said it was the best side for years. We wrapped up the Ashes in the second test at Brisbane with a 17-10 win despite losing Alex Murphy early on which was a blow but Poynton came on and did very well. In the third, we were robbed. We were 17-11 up and had Mick Sullivan and Derek Turner sent off. We were penalised under the posts for 17-13 then they went in at the corner and converted to win by a point and the game didn’t even kick off again. We would have been the only ever side to win a series 3-0 in Australia. However, that tour was the highlight of my career. To captain an Ashes winning side down under was fantastic.” – Great Britain captain Eric Ashton.
It was payback time as Australian referee Darcy Lawler sent off
So Close yet So Far
The Lions won the first test 19-12 at Wembley to end
The Kangaroos led 4-2 at half time following a Dale Shearer try with Paul Eastwood replying for the Lions with a penalty.
Simply the Best
After losing the first test 22-6 in
Despite their injuries and the poor weather, The Lions raced into a 22-0 lead with tries from Clark, Newlove and Schofield. The expected Kangaroo comeback saw tries from Lindner and Johns but the Lions pack held firm giving Graham Steadman and Martin Offiah the opportunity to score great tries.
They lost the decider 16-10 but the glorious night in
Steve McQueen would’ve been proud
7th November 2003
Adrian Morley had a reputation as the best forward in the world and he had played a big part for the Sydney Roosters in their drive to consecutive NRL Grand Finals. He was expected to continue in this vein for the GB Lions but to the home supporter’s dismay he was sent off by referee Steve Ganson after only twelve seconds of the first match at
Two other close and exciting matches followed with The Lions surrendering a good lead in the Second Test at
to see Hull win 23-20. Inspired by their captain Darren Lockyear The Kangaroos scored twelve unanswered points in the last four minutes at Australia Huddersfield to win 18-12. Despite the 3-0 series victory for the Kangaroos the thirteen point difference in the aggregate score line tells the true story
Although the Kangaroos have been dominant in recent years, they are only slightly ahead in terms of series and Test matches won
Ashes Series won Australia 20 GB 19
Test Matches won Australia 59 GB 55
Apart from 1911/12, the Kangaroos were beaten in every Ashes series in
The GB Lions held the Ashes for thirty years from 1920 – 1950
The Australian Kangaroos currently hold the Ashes and have done since 1973 although they have not been contested since 2003 and not on Australian soil since 1992.
Sadly Station Road, Swinton is a now a housing estate.