Interviews

The 1946 cup run and the try that wasn't given.

After the great side of the 1930s had won Challenge cup in 1934, Hunslet did not reach Wembley again until the famous 1965 final against Wigan. But they came close on two occasions just after the war, falling at the semi final stage in 1946 and 1948. The first of these cup runs was one of the most thrilling and controversial in the clubs history. Following victories against Dewsbury and Broughton Rangers in the first two rounds Hunslet travelled to Salford to play for a place in the semi final. With 3 minutes left in the match all looked lost as the home team led 8-5 and the Parksiders were reduced to 12 men. At this point some Hunslet supporters began to set out early on the trip back to Leeds. But, those who stayed saw their team pull off a remarkable comeback, scoring 10 points in the final few minutes, including a Sid Rookes interception try, to secure a famous victory.

The semi final against Wakefield Trinity took place at Headingley in front of 33,000 spectators and the result hinged on a disallowed Willie O’Neill try in the second half. The flying Cumbrian winger was a Schoolboy 100 yards record holder and had been signed from Leeds University to add some much needed pace to the Hunslet outside backs. His speed and the vision of Frank Watson looked likely to prove decisive when O’Neill collected the scrum half’s chip kick and outstripped the Wakefield defence to dive over the line. But way back in the Hunslet half, touch judge Clifford Ramsden was standing with his flag raised and the try was disallowed. Mysteriously, however, the game was restarted by a scrum and not a penalty to Wakefield, which would have been awarded had the try been ruled out for offside. The Hunslet supporters were so incensed by the decision that, in the heat of the moment, one fan ran onto the pitch and punched the unfortunate Mr Ramsden, breaking his jaw. The assailant was subsequently escorted from the field and later served a jail sentence for the attack. Wakefield went on to win the match 7-3 and were again successful in the final against Wigan.