On this Day – 1st July

Graham MacKay against Castleford Tigers in 2000

On this day in 2000, Leeds welcomed Castleford Tigers to Headingley for a Super League clash between the sides with Keith Senior, Dave Barnhill, Kevin Sinfield and Graham MacKay scoring for the home side.

In 2005, the Rhinos won the West Yorkshire derby for the fifth game running in the regular season with a clinical performance midway through the second half to seal a 36-26 win with Keith Senior and Danny McGuire both crossing twice and a try apiece for Ali Lauitiiti and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

Back in 2011, the Rhinos suffered a narrow 26-24 defeat at the hands of Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium in controversial circumstances.

Pat Richards’ boot proved the difference between the two sides in another tense, dramatic thriller.

Leeds scented a shock when tries from Ben Jones-Bishop, Brent Webb and Zak Hardaker earned a 18-12 half-time lead. 

Wigan added to Josh Charnley’s early try with efforts from Ryan Hoffman, George Carmont and Richards, who kicked an ultimately crucial penalty. 

But, after Hardaker’s try, Danny McGuire’s late effort was disallowed. 

McGuire had what would have been a match-winning try chalked off for a knock-on four minutes from the end, on the evidence of video referee Steve Ganson. Subsequently, the head of the referees Stuart Cummings conceded publicly that the try had been incorrectly disallowed.

On this day in 1946, former Leeds 1972 Championship winner David Hick was born.

David Hick signed as a promising teenager from the unusual stable of the Southlands Junior club in York. Originally a full back, he made his debut in mid-December 1964, in a 15-13 home win over Halifax, a match which saw Drew Broatch claim a hat trick and fleeting Eastern Suburbs centre Bob Landers kick three goals.

A blacksmith by profession, his versatility quickly saw him become an ideal bench candidate after the introduction of substitutes that season, two thirds of his appearances being as a replacement. His first try for the club was an important one, the sole Leeds three-pointer in a 7-5 home win over Castleford in January ’65 and he became a stalwart if under-mentioned member of the squad that began to exert a stranglehold on the game.

Three times, in 1967-68, 1969-70 and 1971-72, he crossed seven times, his most prolific campaign being in 1968-69 when Leeds won the title with nine touchdowns.

In the Championship final against Castleford at Odsal, he came off the bench to replace prop Mick Clark after moving more into the forwards. A second row starter at Wembley in 1971 in the inglorious defeat at the hands of Leigh, the following season he was back part covering for John Holmes at full back as the prodigy began to make his name.

So it was in the 1972 decider when Hick took over from the young star and thereby became one of only four Leeds players to hold Championship winner’s medals, the others being John Atkinson, Ray Batten and John Langley. That Swinton encounter also proved to be his fitting finale when after eight years and 152 games, 62 of them as a substitute, he moved to Hull K.R. along with Ted Barnard.

On this day in 1965, Leeds’ most capped international Garry Schofield OBE was born. Leeds fans had to wait four years for the arrival of the man who was born and bred to grace the famous colours but the delay was worth it.

Garry Schofield’s two try debut against Auckland, following a record breaking transfer from Hull in late October 1987, signaled the start of a wonderful nine year association with the club. Whilst the spell may not be quantifiable by winners medals in the major competitions, one of the finest and most complete players of his generation left a host of golden memories. 

The accolades he picked up instead, like the ‘Man of Steel’ Award in 1991 and the OBE in 1994, were tributes to his status within the code. 

Early in his Headingley career he was often single-handedly responsible for destroying opponents, his four tries against Wigan here in 1988 being a prime and memorable example. Initially a predatory centre with an almost telepathic instinct for the interception – a trait that he displayed majestically for Leeds in cup matches at Elland Road in 1988 and 1995 – he became one of the most creative stand offs of his era. 

His perceptive support play in the middle of the battle made him a constant danger but it was his delightful timing of a telling pass and a varied kicking game, which it was almost impossible for opponents to shut down, that were amongst his greatest qualities. 

Many of the records he set were in the international arena, with 46 appearances for his country, a record four tours down under and recognition for the try of the decade as an 18 year old in Brisbane in 1984 amongst his glittering prizes. He also skippered and orchestrated the Lions to one of their finest ever victories in the Second Test at Melbourne in 1992 when the near invincible Aussies were destroyed and his worldwide reputation reached a peak.

Amongst numerous highlights, he twice had the distinction of leading teams out at Wembley in 1992, when Great Britain played Australia in the World Cup Final and two years later when Leeds returned to the Challenge Cup Final after and absence of sixteen years. The honour on that occasion was accorded to him by Ellery Hanley as two of the best of the modern era combined in the early part of the decade to start the process of returning the club to the forefront of the British game. 

In all he made 250 appearances for Leeds, scoring 147 tries and 746 points. One of those players who was capable of producing a magical, gamebreaking moment from seemingly nothing, his iconic status was matched by a symbiotic rapport with the Leeds fans. 

Back in 1950, Leeds half back Dickie Williams was the sole Leeds player in the Great Britain side that took on Australia in the second Test on tour with the visitors losing 15-3 in front of 35,000 in Brisbane.