Ossett Pictures - Ossett Trinity Rugby League Club in 1961

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Ossett Trinity in 1961

A 1961 picture of Ossett Trinity amateur rugby league team with the Yorkshire Sports Shield. The team played then (and still do) at the Recreation Ground on Church Street in Ossett. Ossett Trinity was established as an Under-17s junior rugby league team in February 1958 by Mr. C. Robinson, a native of Castleford and, at that time, a master at Ossett Grammar School where only rugby union was played.

The boys forming the club were ex-pupils or old boys of Southdale School, Ossett Grammar School and other schools in the district where rugby was played as part of the curriculum, but after leaving school, they had no opportunity to play the game in Ossett. The initial fee paid by the players to help get the new club off the ground was £2 each, which was quite a considerable sum for a hard-up teenager in those days.

Speakers at the formation meeting were Wakefield Trinity and England Test star Derek Turner; first class referees Harold Squires and Colin Whitley; local league organiser Harry V. Smith and Grade One coach, Laurie Grant, who was hoping to start an eight week coaching course at Southdale School. Representative on the local league council was Mr. Herbert Senior of Healey, who formally played for Westborough side.

In the ninth match of their short career, played on the 27th September 1958, Ossett Trinity recorded their first ever win by a huge margin of 54-0 against Staincliffe in a game played at Mount Pleasant, Batley. This was the newly-formed Staincliffe club’s first match in the Dewsbury and Batley Amateur Rugby League, and Ossett took the opportunity of exploiting their inexperience to the full.

Star of the match was prop forward Manners who scored three tries, while among the backs, centre three quarters W. Spurr (captain) and M. Wood were prominent, both scoring a couple of tries. Other try scorers in the fourteen try revel were Firth (2) Hemmingway, Wicks, Townend, Corcoran, Grayshon. Hemmingway kicked five goals and Wicks one.

Can anyone identify the people in this picture? Are any of them the stars of the 54-0 drubbing of Staincliffe in 1958? If you know or can identify any of the players or officials, please contact me and I will update this page with their names.

My thanks to Douglas Brammer, David Fozard, Mike Corcoran and Malcom (Mac) Haigh who have between them kindly provided further details about the formation of the club as well as names and corrections for all but one of the people in the picture above:

The three officials on the left (standing) are Lionel Biltcliffe and Clifford Smith; kneeling is Maurice Biltcliffe. The three officials on the right (standing) are Harold Biltcliffe and Leonard Kilburn; kneeling is Brian "Tubby" Orwin.

Players on the back row, L to R: David Fozard, Peter Little, Mac Haigh, Brian Robinson, Martin Haigh, Jack Mitchell, Brian Evans, Steve Peach and ?

Players on the front row, L to R: Barry Spencer, Arthur Townend, David Biltcliffe, Trevor Stevenson, Ken Huxley, Clive Chambers, Maurice Pickles and David Shires.