Where We Started

Let The Journey Begin

First played their home games at Woodhouse Hill next to the Cemetery Tavern now known as the Parnaby Tavern. In 1888 Hunslet moved to “Low Hold” which was renamed Parkside. The official opening was performed by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Alderman Archie Scarr.

Hunslet one of the strongest founder members of the Northern Union in 1895. A mighty unit in the formative years of the game, Hunslet won the Yorkshire cup in 1905.

Hunslet became the first club to win all four cups in season 1907/08 captained by “Our Albert” Albert Goldthorpe. Hunslet were led by Albert Goldthorpe while equally well known was the Hunslet pack who were named “The Terrible Six”.

In the Championship final Hunslet defeated table topping Oldham 12-10 after a replay when the first encounter ended 7-7. In the Challenge cup Hunslet defeated Hull 14-0 at Fartown then took the Yorkshire Cup by the virtue of a 17-0 victory over Halifax and topped the Yorkshire League.

The 1920s were a lean period for Hunslet, but they eventually returned to prominence, Walkington, Dawson, Tolson, Todd, Murrell and Beverley being among the most respected figures in the game.

1934 saw Hunslet win the Rugby league Challenge cup at Wembley defeating Widnes in the final captained by Jack Walkington. In 1938 once again led by Jack Walkington Hunslet went on to win the Championship Final defeating local rivals Leeds in front of a record crowd of 54,112.

1965 saw Hunslet return to Wembley in what was and still is regarded as the finest Rugby League Cup final ever. Hunslet magnificently led by player coach Fred Ward who were massive under dogs gave star studded Wigan a big fright and if it was not for John Griffiths try being disallowed Hunslet well might have won the game.

Hunslet Played there last game at Parkside on the 21st of April 1973 which turned out to be the last time Hunslet Parkside played. In the final game Hunslet were led by veteran Gt Britain Lion Geoff Gunney M.B.E who was the last player to leave the field.

The shareholders, in their “Wisdom”, finally sold the ground for development and closed this once great club Hunslet Parkside down. The club lives on in the hearts of all involved in a club seeped in history long live its memory.

Early Years 1983-1923

The roots or Hunslet Rugby League club can be traced back as far as the early 1860s, when the “peep of the day” and “evening star” cricket club merged to form Hunslet Cricket Club. Their ground was woodhouse hill enclosure, leased from the Cemetery Tavern (nowadays known as
The Parnaby Tavern).

In the early 1980s the landlord announced that he again would lease his enclosure in the winter this time for Rugby Football. The cricket club anxious to protect their playing surface, formed their own rugby club and on May21st, 1883 granted two local teams Hunslet “Albion” and Hunslet “Excelsior”
£30 to form The Hunslet Rugby Club.

The First captain of the club was William (Billy) Gilston and the first strip was blue and white quartered shirts. Their first game was v Hull “A” on October 6th 1883. The team that day was Dickinson, Gilston, Carr, Patchett, Pullan, Hill, Mallinson, Mitchell, Whiting, Barlow, Anderson, Collins, Baines, Simpson and Passmore. Hill scored the first try for Hunslet and captain Gilston the first goal.

In December another team “Imperial” amalgamated to strengthen the club further. In 1884 Hunslet changed their strip to chocolate and white and entered the Rugby Union cup in the third round Hunslet played Leeds St Johns (now Leeds Rhinos R.L.F.C). Hunslet been the junior club surprised their local rivals in front of a large crowd by beating them this was the turning point for the club. Hunslet built a stand for the spectators then Mr. Cusworth the land owner increased the rent to £1 per day later reducing to £200 per annum Hunslet thought this was too much and began looking for a new ground.

Hunslet decided on a piece of land at Hunslet Carr, called “Low HOLD”. The club spent two weeks man-handling 2000 tons of rubble, laying a playing surface and re-erecting their stand. The land owners Low Moor Iron and Coal Company charged £50 per annum rent. The new ground was “PARKSIDE”

On February 11th 1888 Hunslet played their first game at Parkside beating Mirfield in the side that day was William Goldthorpe the first of 5 brothers to play for the Hunslet club.

In 1892 Hunslet won the Yorkshire cup beating local rivals Leeds 21-0 the team included three of the Goldthorpe brothers, only on one occasion did 4 play in the same game all but William played against Brighouse Rangers and Liversedge. William being the oldest of the Oglethorpe’s started the Hunslet connection in 1880’s which only ended in the 1930’s when the most famous of the five brothers Albert left Hunslet.

In season1897-98 Hunslet became Yorkshire Senior League Champions the following season reached the Challenge Cup Final.

The ground for the spectators in the early days was very basic with only the old woodhouse hill stand and no terracing farm carts and wagonettes provided elevated views and wagonettes provided transport from their headquarters (they changed at the Anchor and Engine pub)until the pavilion was built in 1901.
In 1905-06 Hunslet became the first winners of the Yorkshire Challenge Cup beating Halifax 13-3 in this season Hunslet add 5 County representatives three Yorkshire and two Cumbria.

In 1907-08 Hunslet achieved the unthinkable winning all four cups available that season they were the Yorkshire Cup, Yorkshire League, Challenge Cup,
beating Hull 14-0 and the championship Trophy beating Oldham 12-2 after a replay. The Hunslet Pack was dubbed “The Terrible Six” by the teams from across the Pennines. The pack was Tom Walsh, Harry Wilson, Jack Randall, Bill (tubby) Brookes, Bill Jukes and John Willie Higson the back included
Billy Batten (first season) Fred Farrar, Fred Smith, Walter Goldthorpe, Herbert Place, Harry Cappleman and the ever green Albert Goldthorpe who kicked 101 goals that season. Albert played 713 games for Hunslet scoring at least 75 tries and around 992 goals. County caps were plentiful in the following seasons 1908-9 seven players received county honors 1909-10 six and in 1911-12 seven.

A Force Once More 1924-1944

After the war thing began to settle down again, but it was not till 1927-28 season Hunslet became a force once more. It started with the signing of Jack Walkington, Jack had a long career at Hunslet playing then going on to coach the club 1927-48, playing 577 games. Hunslet recruited well with the signings of Frank (Dolly) Dawson, Harry Beverley, Les White, and Jim Trailand Billy Thornton. Prospects improved and Hunslet Finished fourth in the table.

1927-28 Hunslet had 5 players who received county caps Coulson, Jenkins, Walkington, Broughton and Crowther, and again in 1928-29 5 players went on to play for their County’s along with Coulson, Broughton and Jenkins White and Todd received the honor of a county cap. 1929-30 was a vintage year for caps when 7 players received caps two additions to the names above were Beverley and Chapman.

In 1931-32 season Hunslet went on to win Yorkshire League Trophy and lost narrowly in the Yorkshire cup Final and Championship play off. In 1932 Hunslet change the colour of their strip to Myrtle, White and Flame.

1934 Hunslet won the Challenge cup on the 50th anniversary of the club foundation, beating a very good Widnes side 11-5.

In 1936 again only one Hunslet player managed to tour Beverley who played in 3 Tests.

On April 30th 1938 Hunslet went on to win the Championship final beating local rivals and arch enemies Leeds, 54,312  fans pack in to Elland Road to see Hunslet win 8-2. Scorers for Hunslet a try each for Ernest Winter and Jimmy O’Sullivan and a drop goal from Jack Walkington. The game was scheduled to be played at Wakefield Trinity ground but was move to Elland Road at the request of both Leeds and Hunslet. With 5 survivors from the winning 1934 team The team was Walkington, Batten, Morrell, Winter, O’Sullivan, Morris, Thornton, Tolson, White, Bennett, Newbound, Stansfield and Penderleith.

In 1942 Hunslet signed Alf (Ginger) Burnell whose career spanned over 370 domestic and International games

Hunslets next success was reaching the final of the Yorkshire Cup in 1944 played over two legs against Halifax. Both games went to Halifax 2-0 and 11-3 a winning aggregate 13-3.

In the years from 1944 to 1956 Hunslet reached the semifinal of the Challenge cup on 4 occasions, and the semifinal of the Yorkshire cup on 5 occasions. Hunslet also reached the final of the Yorkshire cup in 1956 losing to Wakefield Trinity 23 points to 5, the match played at Headingly with a crowd of 31,147, this was the last occasion the Yorkshire cup final crowed would exceed 30,000.

1951 signings of 17 year old Geoff Gunney along with Cec Thompson, Arthur Clues then joined Hunslet who became a key figure in 1954.

Cec Thompson and Geoff Gunney Sign

In the years from 1944 to 1956 Hunslet reached the semifinal of the Challenge cup on 4 occasions, and the semifinal of the Yorkshire cup on 5 occasions. Hunslet also reached the final of the Yorkshire cup in 1956 losing to Wakefield Trinity 23 points to 5, the match played at Headingly with a crowd of 31,147, this was the last occasion the Yorkshire cup final crowed would exceed 30,000.

1951 signings of 17 year old Geoff Gunney along with Cec Thompson, Arthur Clues then joined Hunslet who became a key figure in 1954. 1959 saw Hunslet reach the championship final losing to a strong St Helens team 44-22 after finishing 3rd in the league.

Player/Coach Fred Ward Lifts Hunslet

1961-62 saw Hunslet finish in 25th and were relegated to the newly formed 2nd Division. At the start of 62 season Fred Ward joined Hunslet as player coach and for a while fortunes changed and spirits lifted. Hunslet went back to chocolate and white in contrast to previous v Hunslet choose two chocolate bands round the middle. In Fred’s first season Hunslet went on to win 2nd Division Championship to secure first division rugby back at Parkside, also added the Yorkshire cup to the trophy cabinet beating H.K.R in the final 12-2 at Headingly in front of 21,742 spectators.

Hunslet went to wembley to face a star studded Wigan team and played in what turned out to be the greatest Cup final played at Wembley, Hunslet going down 20-16 in what was described by Eddie Waring a Great, Great cup final.

Season 65-66 saw Hunslet again runners up this time in the Yorkshire cup losing to Bradford Northern 17-8.

Hunslet Back In Decline

After the breakup of the 65 team Hunslet went back into decline although signing players such as Dave Marshall, Mick Chamberlain, Tommy Thompson and a couple of welsh boys Morgan and Williams, Robin Hurl from Halifax Rugby Union and later from the junior ranks Phil Sanderson, George Clark, Geoff Nichols, Jimmy Crampton and many more. In 1970 71 season saw more players leave the club or retire after a near players strike, though the players mostly junior signings plus “Mr. Hunslet” Geoff Gunny tried the final game was played on Parkside in April 1973 in front of a small crowd against York.

Though the door finally closed on a great club one of the founders of rugby league will live on forever a club seeped in history and comradeship surpassed by none and to this day meet annually the first Sunday in June to celebrate their past memories.

The ground was badly neglected and was finally sold for industrial development.

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