Maurice Bamford RIP

It was with much sadness that the club has learned of the death of former Head Coach Maurice Bamford, aged 83, after losing his long battle with cancer.

Born in Kirkstall, he finally came home to Leeds in October 1983 when he succeeded Robin Dewhurst as Head Coach of his home town team. He led Leeds to victory in the Regal Trophy over Widnes at Central Park in 1984 and was a popular coach of the side. Whilst at Leeds, he was announced as the new Great Britain coach, operating in a part time capacity with his country until the season’s end and he was given a standing ovation by the fans prior to the subsequent home game with Barrow.

Like the year before in the John Player, Leeds won at Naughton Park in the league a week ahead of the cup clash for which new coach Malcolm Clift was in place. The former Canterbury supremo, who had just won the Australian title, took the reigns with Bamford seeing out his tenure as Director of Rugby before taking up the national role full time. 

He had been introduced to rugby league in 1945 when he played for his school immediately after the end of the Second World War. He signed professional forms for Hull in 1953, but never played in the first team. He was transferred to Dewsbury in 1957 and returned to play amateur rugby league in 1964, having played eleven seasons as a professional.

He coached amateur rugby league sides Stanningley, Dudley Hill, Milford Marlins, Oulton Welfare, Castleford Lock Lane, Blackpool Borough, Dewsbury Celtic, Greetland All-Rounders, Mirfield, Oxford University and Yorkshire County.

Maurice Bamford with his players after the 1984 Regal Trophy win

In 1972 he returned to the professional-game as assistant coach at Dewsbury and began a new career as coach. He had spells as coach at Leeds and Dewsbury (twice) and three times for Bramley. He also enjoyed time at Wigan, Halifax, Bradford Northern, Workington own, York, Keighley, Prescot Panthers, and Lancashire Lynx.

His career also included a three-year stint as Great Britain coach between 1984 and 1987 with test series against Australia, New Zealand and France. His term as coach of the national side also included the formation of the Great Britain under-21 team.

He returned to Leeds in December 1986 to succeed Peter Fox. He immediately gave the side a lift and on Boxing Day Wakefield were thrashed with Ettingshausen scoring a hat trick.  He remained at the club until the end of the 1987-88 season when he announced that he was stepping down from the coaching role to concentrate on being commercial manager. 

In 1985, Bamford was the first ever appointed full-time Development Officer for rugby league in the UK when he served for the Leeds City Council Leisure Services for two and a half years.

On behalf of everyone associated with the club, we would like to send our deepest sympathies to Maurice’s family and friends. The players will wear black armbands this Sunday for our Dacia Magic Weekend game against London Broncos as a mark of respect for our former Head Coach. Maurice Bamford RIP

Leeds defeated Widnes in the 1984 Regal Trophy Final at Central Park, Wigan