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Hunslet Hawks is a Britishmarker professional rugby league club. They are based in Hunsletmarker, to the south of Leedsmarker, West Yorkshire. The club are sometimes known as 'the Parksiders' after their former stadium.


Early years

A special general meeting of the Hunslet Cricket Club was held on the 21st May, 1883, the committee resolved to grant two local teams: Albion and Excelsior the sum of £130 to form the Hunslet Rugby Club based at Woodhouse Hillmarker. The name of the cricket club was also changed to 'Hunslet Cricket and Football Club'. At the end of that year the Imperial side joined the Hunslet club.

The players initially wore blue and white quartered shirts, but this soon changed to their familiar white shirts with chocolate coloured badges.

Hunslet announced their arrival the following season by beating Leeds St John's (later to become Leeds RLFC) in the third round of the Yorkshire Cup. Better fixtures drew larger crowds and as a result the landlord wanted to put up the rent. The search was on for another ground, club officials purchased at little cost of waste land at Hunslet Carr from the Low Moor Iron and Coal Company and had to shift 2,000 tons of rubbish to create what would become Parksidemarker, which they moved to in 1888.

The first game at Parkside was played on 11 February, 1888, when they played and beat Mirfieldmarker.Just four seasons later Hunslet won their first trophy, the Yorkshire Cup, beating Leeds. In 1895, Hunslet were one of the twenty-one clubs that broke away from the Rugby Football Union, and joined the Northern Union. Hunslet adopted chocolate and white shirts in the 1890s.

20th century

Billy Batten signed for Hunslet as a seventeen-year-old in 1905.

In the 1905/06 season Hunslet won the Yorkshire Cup. They were the first club to win All Four Cups, which they did in the 1907/08 season. Powered by a pack known as the Terrible Six, Hunslet were led by Albert Goldthorpe, already in his late thirties but a dominant figure in the early years of the code. Many players left Parkside following this success either being transferred to other clubs or going into retirement.

After Batten failed to come to terms with Hunslet in 1912, he was transferred to Hull for the then record sum of £600. In 1921, Harold Buck became the game’s first £1,000 transfer when he moved from Hunslet to Leeds. According to some sources, the deal included a player in part exchange.

In 1924, the club's record attendance was set at 24,700 for a third round Challenge Cup match.

In the remaining years up to the 1930s, Hunslet had rather a lean period, until 1932 when they regained the Yorkshire League Trophy and made it to the final of the Yorkshire Cup.

In the 1920s, the club played in white shirts, but the players used to steal them for work. Determined to prevent this happening, the club changed to coloured jerseys in 1932. They could not use the Leeds city colours as rivals Leeds wore those, so Hunslet decided to adopt the University of Leedsmarker colours of myrtle white and flame red.

Hunslet celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1933/34. The club did this in some style as Hunslet beat Widnes at Wembley Stadiummarker in the Challenge Cup Final. Hunslet reached the RL Championship Final in 1938 meeting their neighbours Leeds in the only all-Leeds final. The match was played at the Elland Roadmarker football ground, to accommodate a huge demand from the city’s rugby league supporters. Over 54,000 people watched the game, a then record for a match in Englandmarker, Hunslet triumphed 8-2 to take the title for the second time in the club’s history.[203511]

In the late 1930s the club was doing well and played in front of large crowds, this wave of success was only halted by the Second World War, Hunslet dropped out of the wartime Yorkshire league in 1942/43 but returned to the competition in 1943/44.

Post war

Hunslet's fanbase went into decline as post-war slum clearances changed what had been a residential area into an industrial one. Hunslet tried to keep the success going but never quite achieved it despite reaching a number of semi-finals and finals. However, Hunslet produced a number of international players as well as a respectable league record. The club always had strength in a supply of local talent mixed with both Welshmarker and Australian imports.

The Parksiders lost the 1956 Yorkshire Cup Final to Wakefield Trinity. Hunslet lost 44-22 against St Helens in the 1959 Championship Final at Odsal Stadiummarker, Bradfordmarker.

In the 1960s the club were classic underachievers. Although the players were a group of experienced and talented people they were unable to harness their skills to best effect. This changed when Fred Ward was appointed player-coach at the start of the 1962/63 season. It was decided that the team never looked that imposing in green and a decision was made to go back to white, this time with two chocolate hoops. In his first season, Hunslet won the Second Division Championship and secured a position in the top division as well as winning the 1962 Yorkshire Cup Final over Hull Kingston Rovers.

Hunslet lost in the 1965 Yorkshire Cup final against Bradford Northern and that same year reached the semi final of the Challenge Cup. In order to avoid going on black and white television against Wakefield who also wore hoops in the middle of their shirt, the club got a strip with a chocolate V. They won the semi-final and went to Wembley with it, stitching green blazer badges to the shirt. They lost the final narrowly 20-16 to Wigan. The side were again split up by transfers and retirements. Just two years later in 1967 the dream was over. Ward left the club and with that the club entered free fall.

Parkside's stand was burned down by vandals in 1971. Parkside was then sold off to an industrial developer for around £300,000 in 1972. The last game at Parkside was on 21 April, 1973 against York. Parkside was demolished and Hunslet became tenants at the Elland Road Greyhound Stadium. By July 1973, the club had folded.

Due to the efforts of their former Great Britain forward Geoff Gunney , local businessmen and supporters the club managed to reform as New Hunslet for the 1973/74 season and moved to the Leeds Greyhound Stadium and erected iron American football posts. In 1974, New Hunslet adopted green and white as team colours. The stay at the greyhound stadium was cut short when the owners closed the ground. The club reverted to New Hunslet for the 1979/80 season.

The next ground to host Hunslet was Mount Pleasant, Batleymarker, before Hunslet moved to Leeds United's Elland Roadmarker football stadium then owned by Leeds City Council. After leaving Elland Road, Hunslet had a brief spell at Bramley.

The 1990s and onwards

The grandstand at the South Leeds Stadium

On 19 November, 1995, the club, now known as Hunslet Hawks, moved to the South Leeds Stadiummarker, only about half a mile from Parkside. On that day, Leigh were the guests at Hunslet's first home game for twenty-two years. They then narrowly missed out on promotion from Division Two in 1996.

In 1997 the Hawks appeared at Wembley Stadium for the first time since 1965 in the first (and last) Challenge Cup Plate Final but were beaten by Hull Kingston Rovers 60-14. Also in that year, the Hawks were promoted to the First Division as champions.

In 1999 as a possible merger between Hunslet and Bramley was debated.[203512] In 1999 Hunslet won the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final against Dewsbury 12-11 at Headingley. After that game the Hawks were denied entry to Super League by the RFL who cited a document called 'Framing the Future' as justification. This caused a number of players to leave the club and for the average attendance to fall by more than 1,200 to 800.

2009 squad

No Nat Player Position Former Club
1 Nathan Larvin Full Back Featherstone Rovers
2 Scott Childs Wing Batley
3 Tom Sheldrake Centre Leeds
4 Michael Brown Centre Huddersfield
5 John Richardson Wing Bramley
6 Darren Robinson Stand Off Batley
7 Stewart Young Scrum Half Queens RLFC
8 Joe Helme Prop Dewsbury
9 Richard Chapman Hooker Dewsbury
10 Ben Lawton Prop Hunslet Warriors
11 Joe Howey Second Row Leeds
12 Jason Hart Second Row Doncaster
13 Mark McKinley Loose Forward Hunslet Waks
14 Chris Redfearn Loose Forward Keighley
15 Andy Robinson Centre Batley
16 Mark Moxon Stand Off Doncaster
17 Stephen Brook Prop Batley
18 Aayden Faal Second Row Doncaster
19 Ben Walkin Second Row East Leeds
20 Anthony Thewliss Prop Batley
21 Danny Cook Utility Leeds
22 Scott Watson Second Row Wakefield Trinity
23 Johnny Wainhouse Hooker Hunslet Hawks
24 Charlie Wabo Prop Papua New Guineamarker
25 Michael Mark Utility Papua New Guineamarker
26 Nicko Slain Prop Papua New Guineamarker
27 Gareth Firm Hooker Wakefield Trinity
28 Craig Cawthray Second Row Featherstone Rovers
29 Jason Dubas-Fisher Prop Keighley
30 Matt Carbutt Prop Leeds
31 Luke Rayner Wing Hunslet Hawks
32 Dwaine Nelson Wing Oldham
33 Brad Conway Second Row Dewsbury
34 Ryan Glynn Centre Dewsbury

Head Coach: Greame Hallas

Players earning International Caps while at Hunslet

  • Eric Batten, for England while at Hunslet 1938 Wales; 1939 France, Wales; 1940 Wales; 1941 Wales; 1943 Wales; while at Bradford: 1944 Wales; 1945 Wales x 2; 1946 France x 2, Wales; 1947 France; 1948 France, for Great Britain while at Bradford 1946 Australia x 2, New Zealand; 1947 New Zealand
  • William "Billy" Batten (#5), for England while at Hunslet 1908 Wales x 2; 1908-09 Australia x 3, Wales; 1910 Wales; 1911-12 Australia x 2; 1912 Wales; 1913 Wales; while at Hull 1921 Wales, Other Nations; 1922 Wales; 1923 Wales, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1908 New Zealand; 1908 Australia x 3; 1910 Australia x 2, New Zealand; 1911 Australia x 2; while at Hull 1921 Australia
  • Alfred "Alf" 'Ginger' Burnell , for England while at Hunslet 1950 France; 1951 Wales, France; 1952 Wales, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1951 New Zealand x 2; 1954 New Zealand, for British Empire XIII while at Hunslet 1945+ ?-caps
  • Hector Crowther, for Great Britain while at Hunslet circa-1930
  • John "Jack" Evans, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1951 New Zealand; 1952 Australia x 3
  • Kenneth "Ken"/"Kenny" Eyre(1965 Challenge Cup Runner-up), for Great Britain while at Hunslet circa-1965
  • Brian Gabbitas, for Great Britain while at Hunslet circa-1959
  • Geoffrey "Geoff" Gunney (1965 Challenge Cup Runner-up) (Testimonial match 1960) (#12) [203513], for Great Britain while at? Hunslet 1954 New Zealand x 3; 1956 Australia; 1957 France x 3, France, New Zealand; 1964 France; 1965 France (World Cup 1957 2-caps)

  • John Higson, for Great Britain while at Hunslet circa-1909
  • Albert Jenkinson, for England while at Hunslet 1911 Australia; 1912 Wales; 1913 Wales, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1911-12 Australia x 2
  • William "Bill" Jukes (#11), for England while at Hunslet 1908 Wales; 1909 Australia x 3, Wales; 1910 Wales x 2; 1911 Australia x 2, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1908-09 Australia x 3; 1910 Australia x 2, New Zealand
  • Cyril Morrell, for England while at Hunslet 1938 France, Wales; 1939 France
  • Herbert Place (#1), for England while at Hunslet 1909 Wales
  • Bernard Prior, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1966 France
  • William "Bill" Ramsey, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1965 New Zealand x 2; 1966 France, Australia x 2, New Zealand x 2; while at Leeds 1974 New Zealand.

  • John "Jack" Walkington (#1), for England while at Hunslet 1930 Other Nations; 1931 Wales; 1938 Wales; 1944 Wales
  • Leslie "Les" White, for England while at Hunslet 1933 Australia, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1932 Australia x 3, New Zealand x 2; 1933 Australia x 2
  • Richard "Dickie" Williams, for Wales while at Leeds 13-caps?, for Great Britain while at Leeds, while at Hunslet, 1948…54 12-caps
  • Harry Wilson, for England while at Hunslet 1906 Other Nations; 1908 New Zealand, for Great Britain while at Hunslet 1908 New Zealand x 3

Other Notable Players



External links

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