Hunslet-born and brought up in the traditions of the game there, Bernard Poole initially signed for Hull in 1947 but was brought to Leeds a week into the 1950-1 season, when the management decided the pack needed beefing up after a 14th placed finish the year before and a surprise early loss at Keighley.
He made his debut in the derby at Bramley three days later and scored a try in a 25-10 win. According to team manager and club historian Ken Dalby, he “displayed in that game the relentless tackling, enthusiastic backing up, and wholehearted endeavour which were to be the hallmark of each of his subsequent performances.” Within three months of signing, he gained his sole international cap in England’s 14-9 European Championship win over France at Headingley. He also won his first Yorkshire cap, one of nine in total, that season. Initially forming a fine partnership with Arthur Clues, he was in the Leeds side that lost in the Challenge Cup semi-final replay against Barrow at Fartown in his first campaign, and was also one of Leeds’s eight try scorers when they bet Italy 56-41 in an exhibition game in September 1950. He crossed again in the home Yorkshire Cup semi final defeat to Wakefield the following season as Leeds went down 18-17 and seemed to be everywhere in the closing minutes as the Loiners pressed for victory.
His most productive campaign in terms of tries was 1954-5, when he crossed the whitewash nine times, including a brace against Hull KR in the first round of the Yorkshire Cup, a feat he repeated facing the Robins in a league game two years later. By now, with Clues having moved on to Hunslet, his consistency of performance was such that he was one of the first names on the team sheet, striking up a similarly complimentary back row partnership with Don Robinson. He also acted as a great role model for the increasing number of young forwards coming through at the club with his assiduous preparation and complete all-round game. It seemed as though domestic glory was going to elude him when he was again prominent in successfully defending a narrow lead at Hull in the first round of the Challenge Cup in 1955-6, but the blue and amber going out in the quarter finals at home to Halifax. However, the following season he was the glue that held the run to and triumph at Wembley together.
He started the 1957-8 season in fine form, picking up three tries in four games against Hull, Blackpool and Huddersfield but the cup winning pack quickly broke up and, following defeat in the Yorkshire Cup semi final by Huddersfield in early October he, along with Ernie Hopper, was released. In all he made 288 appearances, crossing for a highly respectable 50 tries and kicking his sole goal in a 19-13 win, again over Hull KR, in December 1951.