FORMER Hunslet and Bradford Northern player Tommy Thompson has passed away.
Thompson, one of the fastest and most elusive wingers of the 1960s and a real crowd-pleaser, died on Tuesday 18 October after a long illness. A former Hunslet Junior, he made his debut for his local side on 24 November 1962 in a home victory over Liverpool City; the Parksiders, who had won the Yorkshire Cup the previous month with a 12-2 triumph over Hull KR, went on to secure the Division Two championship by the end of that campaign.
The following season he was in the team that beat holders Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue 14-7 in the Challenge Cup first round replay. A total of nearly 41,000 attended the two ties and Hunslet were promptly installed as the bookies’ favourites to lift the Cup, only to lose to underdogs Oldham in the quarter-final.
A Yorkshire county cap – Thompson crossing the whitewash against Cumberland in 1969/70 with yet another trademark touchdown – the flyer’s final game (his 222nd) for Hunslet was on 26 September 1970, in a home reverse at the hands of York, in which he scored the last of his 90 tries for the club.
Tommy Thomson missed out on the 1965 Challenge Cup Final against Wigan but was on Hunslet’s left flank in the Yorkshire Cup Final against the recently re-formed Bradford Northern in the October of that year, crossing the whitewash in a shock 17-8 defeat at Headingley.
Perhaps his finest season for the south Leeds outfit was in 1967/68, when he scored 28 tries – many of them solo efforts from long range – in 36 appearances. That was a highly notable achievement, given that the Parksiders had slipped from their earlier pre-eminence, closing 21st of 30 teams in the final table with 13 wins and 21 defeats in 34 fixtures.
Thompson transferred to Bradford in the 1970/71 season and, in the next three campaigns, played 19 games for Northern, notching six tries.
Thank you for the tributes to my dad. I was too young to remember my dad as a rugby player. I was 6 years old when he retired from rugby. I only remember asking my mum who was this stranger staying in our house. He always worked during the day trained after work & then finish off with a pint with his pals so l never used to see him until he retired. I do appreciate all that has been written about him being the fastest winger & all. Makes me so proud. Dad had been in poor health for some time & was unable to go out at all which he missed so very much to go out for a pint.
My dad asked me not to spend money on a funeral service but to provide a drink on him for all who wanted to pay their respects. A date hasn’t been set but l hope to do that soon & we as a family shall look forward to meeting all his rugby pals & celebrate.e his life together.
great player would always have a go. a true hun slet servant
I can remember him being so fast when he played, I was ten years old at the time! One of the great players of that era. Another one sadly missed.