On this Day – 14th February
ON THIS DAY in 1951 former Leeds player Dave Barham was born.
Barham was not on the original team sheet for the 1972 Championship Final. Barham, a nippy scrum half who had come through the Leeds Intermediates, was in his debut campaign, the late call up for the Swinton decider, somewhat ironically, his thirteenth starting match in blue and amber.
With Barry Seabourne increasingly beset by injuries, although starting the campaign, a spot emerged in the halves and two youngsters, Chris Sanderson and Barham were promoted into the first team ranks. He made his bow, aged 20, taking over from Seabourne in a comfortable home win over Dewsbury at the end of September, kicking a late goal in a 33-5 success.
His first try was a week later, in a draw at Castleford and despite a run of six undefeated games, including in a big home win over Hull K.R. in the Floodlit Trophy, Seabourne’s return – at Rovers in the league – saw him displaced.
That proved to be Seabourne’s last game for Leeds as he was snapped up by Bradford but the directors immediately moved to fill the void by surprisingly signing Keith Hepworth from Castleford to renew his partnership with Alan Hardisty.
That pushed Barham back down the pecking order with only occasional appearances thereafter, including in a midweek second round Floodlit win at Halifax and a two game streak in January bringing him a try at Batley and as part of the side that gained a merited 15-all draw at St Helens.
A month later he made his Challenge Cup debut at the Boulevard, Leeds beating Hull 16-5 and the following week was again a winner, at Workington in the league. His first defeat in the colours came in another one-off recall, at Dewsbury in early April, Hepworth seemingly in situ for the end of season finale that saw qualification for the double. Not only were hopes of that dashed by Saints at Wembley but Hepworth reported in sick and pulled out on the morning of the Championship Final a week later, coach Derek Turner immediately drafting side-burned Barham in for what proved to be the game of his life.
Every Leeds player interviewed either at the time or since have recognised his astonishing contribution in the final. Winger Alan Smith probably best summed up their sentiments, “Little Dave Barham played that day. You see again welcomed into the team no problem at all. He made a big, big contribution to that game. That was his Wembley really.”
It was also, effectively, his swansong. In all he played 30 times, five of them off the bench, disappearing off the Headingley first team scene in 1974, his final try coming in a narrow home win over Rochdale.
ON THIS DAY in 1980 former Rhinos player Scott Donald was born. The Australian joined the club in 2006 from Manly Sea Eagles and went on to play a huge role in the team’s success, winning three Grand Finals and a World Club Challenge. In total he made 145 appearances and scored 368 points.
ON THIS DAY in 1998 Leeds had a miserable start to the season with 15-12 defeat against Castleford that saw the knocked out of the Challenge Cup. Tony Kemp was the only try scorer and Iestyn Harris landed four goals but it was not enough to prevent defeat against their local rivals.
ON THIS DAY in 1999 Leeds began their campaign with a 28-18 win over Wigan Warriors in the Challenge Cup. Their first game of the successful Cup campaign saw Lee Jackson make his debut and tries from Leroy Rivett, Brad Godden, Marcus St Hilaire and Ryan Sheridan to earn a place against St Helens in Round 5.
ON THIS DAY in 2010 Leeds Rhinos lost out 28-18 to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the Hearwell Stadium as they fell short of a late winning rally like they had done last season.
Leeds were unable to pull off a great escape for the second year running at the Hearwell Stadium, the Wildcats ending their home hoodoo against their derby rivals with a first Belle Vue victory in the summer era.
ON THIS DAY in 2016 Leeds Rhinos endured a nightmare Valentine’s Day at the Select Security Stadium as they found themselves on the end of a heavy 56-12 defeat and lost three players in the first half to serious leg injuries.
The Rhinos had lost Danny McGuire in the opening game of the season to a knee injury and within forty minutes the skipper was joined on the sidelines by Tom Briscoe, Carl Ablett and Ashton Golding.