Dennis Hartley, who played for Hunslet in the classic 1965 Challenge Cup Final against Wigan and was a member of the club’s Hall of Fame, passed away last night (Wednesday 12 November 2019) at the age of 83.
Hartley, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago, died at Colton Lodge care home, Leeds, with his family by his bedside.
The open side prop, as gentle and mild-mannered off the field as he was ferocious on it, signed for Hunslet from Doncaster, for whom he had played from the 1956-7 season, in January 1961, and went on to make 205 appearances for the Parksiders.
His last appearance in a final with Hunslet was in the shock defeat at the hands of the recently-reformed Bradford Northern in the 1965-66 Yorkshire Cup decider.
Dennis Hartley transferred to Castleford for £4,750 in September 1966. He had earned two Great Britain caps while with Hunslet and went on to make nine more appearances for his country while at Wheldon Road, making a huge impact as a late call-up when the Lions won the Ashes, in Australia, in 1970. Great Britain have yet to repeat a series triumph over the Kangaroos.
In addition to collecting a runners-up medal at Wembley in 1965 he was in the side that beat Division One side Hull KR in the 1962-63 Yorkshire Cup Final, landing a drop-goal in the 12-2 victory at Headingley, Leeds; he also helped Hunslet top Division Two that season.
He also won winners’ medals at Wembley in 1969 and 1970 when Cas accounted for, respectively, Salford and Wigan. On retirement he nurtured a host of future stars as a key member of Castleford’s coaching team.
Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.
One of the greatest open-props theres ever been. Renowned for his scrumaging his ball handling skills were just as good, Gabby benefiting many times. My thoughts are with his family..