Steve Calline’s fascinating account of the many Welshmen who have served Hunslet with, in the main, great distinction since the `Great Split’ of 1895 concludes with his assessments of the superb talents of the 1950s, through the 1960s and on to the South Leeds Stadium era.
WILLIAMS, Richard ‘Dickie’
Hunslet had a stroke of luck when Leeds decided that Dickie Williams was too old for them. They put him on the list and Hunslet swooped for him in December 1953. The Parksiders were the obvious choice for logistical reasons, and Hunslet needed a number 6. Gabbitas was a quality player but he needed experience and he still had his army service to do. Unfortunately, Dickie received an injury towards the back end of the season and couldn’t guide the side to the 1953-54 Challenge Cup Final. Many injuries at this time was also a sore point. Dickie made an appearance for Great Britain v France and there was a surprise as he was selected to tour Australia, and furthermore he was elected as captain. He played 16 games on tour, scoring 29 goals and seven tries. On his return, he was elected club captain, and also in 1955-56. However, this season was to be last as injuries took a toll and he only managed four games in his final campaign. He finished with a total of 44 appearances and five tries. A big SUCCESS.
A trialist from Pontypridd who played one game under the pseudonym of ‘Wilson’. FAILURE
A big forward signed in 1958-59 from Swansea. An excellent player but found his way barred into the first team because of the famous back three of Poole, Gunney and Shaw. I believe there were plans afoot to convert him into a prop but in 1960-61 he was transferred to Bradford Northern. He should never have been allowed to go as in no time at all Shaw and Poole had also gone. A big mistake by the committee! He played 27 games, scoring six tries, with Hunslet. Worked for breweries who would put him in as landlord at pubs that were known for trouble. They quickly got sorted out. SUCCESS, despite low appearance figure.
Also signed in 1958-59, from Pontypool. Became a free scoring winger after appearing in Welsh trials at the age of 19. Probably remembered best for several moments in the 1965 Challenge Cup final. He had a couple of fall outs with the committee which meant him returning to Wales twice, but it didn’t affect his form. His seasonal try record, followed by appearances in brackets, is: 5 (5), 17 (24), 9 (11), 24 (21), 20 (29), 27 (35), 7 (16). This left 109 tries from 141 appearances. His best season was probably 1964-65 when he finished third in the league’s list of top try scorers with 27. His total would have been higher as he was in a stream of scoring when he injured his leg, and his aggregate average total went down. On his form at the time, he would probably have scored a further half dozen. He had to quit the game in 1966-67 through injury. Apparently, he had agreed to play in the forwards in the seconds but dislocated his hip and could never get it right. Probably Hunslet’s best try scorer as an average per game. Was once selected for the Other Nationalities but had to cross off through injury. Big SUCCESS.
RUDGE, Frederick Marsden
A trialist prop from Pontypool who scored the winning try at home to Keighley in 1959-60. Not heard of again so FAILURE, despite his winning try.
1959-60 saw another trialist prop, this time from Mountain Ash. Disappeared just as quickly as he arrived so FAILURE.
A sturdy scrum-half secured from Newport RU. Given a trial in the Lazenby Cup and took his chance to impress in 1966-67. Played for Wales RL in one game. Stayed until 1970-71 when the players strike caused havoc and several players were transferred. Williams was sold to Swinton. His record was 103 games, two goals and thirteen tries. A SUCCESS
Signed from Cardiff in 1967-68 and was reputed to be in the top three stand-offs in Wales, behind David Watkins and Phil Bennett. He had played 25 games for Cardiff before switching codes. He revitalised Hunslet’s back play, with Tommy Thompson scoring 28 tries, but we couldn’t give him enough protection and he was really bullied out of the game. Very quick off the mark and could kick goals. In three seasons he played 60 times and kicked six goals to go with 14 tries. Played five times for Wales. Skill-wise, a SUCCESS.
Tony Hurford came on loan from Wakefield but only played one game, in the forwards. Formerly with Newport along with Cliff Williams. FAILURE
Played one game in 1985-86. Unknown, so FAILURE
Played eight games in 1999 and eight in 2000. Unknown. FAILURE
Joined on loan in 2011 from Crusaders. Later moved upwards through the leagues and played in Super League and for Wales. With Hunslet, he played ten games, scoring five tries. SUCCESS, with other clubs especially
Flitted about clubs and played a few times at Hunslet; 25 times to be exact, with eleven tries. Moderate SUCCESS.
OTHER NAMES with solitary appearances and no information about them. All must be classed as FAILURES
1926-27 DAVIES, Bryn (Ebbw Vale)
1913-14 ROBERTS, Richard (Grimsby) Welsh?
1929-30 BOOTH, Ivor (club unknown)
1950-51 RICHARDS, E (club unknown)
2011 McLOCKLAN, Joe [club unknown) Welsh?
2014 CLARKE, George [club unknown} Welsh?