Leeds Rhinos Flashback: Comeback victory over Warrington kept up Leeds’ fine start

Bev Risman.
Bev Risman.
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LEEDS WERE in a rich vein of form 49 years ago.

The Loiners travelled to Wilderspool on March 12 bidding for a ninth successive win in a run stretching back more than two months. Their previous defeat had been a 13-5 setback at Hull KR on New Year’s Day and since then they had rattled off victories against Castleford, Bramley, Bradford, Dewsbury, Halifax, Keighley, York and Hull.

They seemed to be heading for their second loss of the year when Warrington built an early lead, but in his summary of the game, The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Arthur Haddock wrote: “It is a long time since Leeds gave eight points start on a Lancashire ground and won by a margin as wide as 12-11.

“The really satisfying aspect of their ninth successive win at Warrington was the manner in which they pulled themselves together and fought back.”

Loose-forward Harry Poole was at the heart of Leeds’ rally, laying a platform which allowed the visitors’ backs to play some exhilarating rugby.

Full-back Bev Risman had been signed from Leigh early in the new year after Ken Thornett returned to his native Australia and Robin Dewhurst was sidelined through injury.

The former England rugby union international made a break which led to Leeds’ opening try and booted five goals, three of them from a difficult angle.

There was also a valuable contribution from reserve team centre Syd Hynes, in the early days of what was to be a glittering career in blue and amber and he was involved in two of the five tries. Scot Ron Cowan touched down twice, Geoff Wriglesworth got one chance and finished it well, Ken Owens sent Ken Rollin in for a try and Dick Gemmell dummied over to complete a notable success. Leeds’ victory was even more impressive considering they were without Mick Shoebottom, who was sidelined because of a “stretched stomach muscle”.

Explaining the incident, Haddock reported: “He got his injury at work when holding up a 3cwt concrete slab which slipped from the grasp of his ‘mate’.”

Leeds’ winning run went on for another four matches – against Hull, Batley, York and Doncaster – before they returned to Wilderspool and were held to a 2-2 draw in the Challenge Cup third round. They went on to lose their next three games before winning the replay against Warrington 8-0, though their Wembley hopes were ended by a 7-2 semi-final loss to Wigan at Fartown. The Loiners finished the season in sixth place on the league table, with 24 wins and 10 defeats from their 34 matches.


Warrington 11

Leeds Rhinos 25
(Tries: Cowan 2, Wriglesworth, Gemmell, Rollin. Goals: Risman 5)

March 12, 1966 
League Championship

Leeds: Risman, Cowan, Hynes, Gemmell, Wriglesworth, Broatch, Rollin, Joyce, Owens, Firth, Davies, Morgan, Poole.

Referee: DTH Davies.