FELLOW PARKSIDERS. Like many of my fellow Parksiders, I was born in the Industrial heartland of Hunslet, on Pearson Street, which was sandwiched between the famous Hunslet Engine Company and two giant engineering companies of John Fowlers and McClarins; this was situated just off an area know as “Pottery Fields” – (although there was not a lot of grass around !)

At the end of our street lived another Hunslet Legend, Peter Anson, and in the next street lived Denis Tate and family.

I remember as a young child watching Peter Anson Bare Knuckle fighting outside The Union Pub, these fights were always after “chucking out” time on a Sunday afternoon !

On one occasion at the then famous Hunslet Feast on Hunslet Moor Peter Anson took up the challenge to go 3 Rounds in the Boxing Ring for the grand sum in those days of – £5 ! – sadly he only lasted 30 seconds !!

I attained some of my Rugby skills on Pearson Street, where as kids, we used to play “British Bulldog” or “Beddy”where you had to dodge about to avoid capture.

Living nearby on Butterley street was my good friend Peter Jarvis (aka – our Editor-in-chief) plus my best mate, another Hunslet servant – John (Charlie) Holl, who once played an entire Rugby game after breaking his leg in the first half !!

My one and only School was St. Joseph. R.C. whereupon I came under the tutorship of Head Master, Mr. Joe Arnold (another Hunslet legend). Joe Arnold had a voice like a Megaphone ! Whilst on the pitch at Parkside you would hear him above all others.

In my final year at School, I was selected to play for “Hunslet City Boys”. This was where I first met “The Right Honourable Mr. Harry Jepson” and of course this team was never beaten.

On leaving School, Harry told me to come along to Parkside, the first Tuesday after Christmas at 7.30pm. I arrived at 6.30.pm in a snowstorm, then watched the first and second teams train under the Pavilion, I realized then, that this was something I wanted to be part of. At this point I was introduced to another “Hunslet Great” – Mr. John Groves who took me under his wing and a few days later I made my Debu for Hunslet- under- 17s at Weldon Road, Castleford, playing as No.8.

My opposing number 8 on that day was no other than “Duggie Walton” who at the age of 17 played for the Great Britain Side, I also believe him to be the youngest Forward to play for Great Britain.

At 16 years of age I was selected for the Leeds & District u – 17s, Harry Jepson advised me to wash my Blonde hair just before the Game and put some white tape around my socks, so I would stand out and be noticed ! This certainly worked as I was selected along with my friend Neil Brown (Hunslet Winger) to play for Yorkshire u17s. In that Yorkshire team were some great future Players – Roger (the dodger) Millward, the Lockwood Brothers who all came from Castleford – to name but a few. These Games became the first “Live” Televised Rugby game on a Sunday with Yorkshire I.T.V. unfortunately, at this time, the Video was not invented, so I never got to see them.

At this time, toward the end of the Season, we seemed to be up at “Bus Vale” nearly every week, I remember playing there 3 times in one week; It was on one occasion, after beating Castleford in a under 17s Yorkshire cup semi final – we celebrated our win at the local pub next door, with Lemonade only ! of course! It was at this celebration that I was approached by a Leeds Rugby Scout, Mr. Joe Warram along with Barry Seabournes Dad telling me that he would like me to sign Professional Forms for Leeds, I politely said “No thank you” before any money was mentioned, I knew that Leeds had signed a few of the Yorkshire Team. He then offered me £150 to sign ! This amount to a lad who was on Apprenticeship wages of £3 a week ! again the reply was “no thank you”. They then said that they would come and see my Dad ! – Two days later I called on Harry Jepson at his house on Town Street, Middleton where he lived then with his beautifull Lady Wife Mary, telling Him that Leeds wanted to sign me.

No Problem – Harry said “we can top any offer that Leeds can”

So……I signed the “Famous” Hunslet Contract – “£50 sign on Fee” with a promise of a great tomorrow” !

Joking apart – Hunslet was a part of me, it was “Home” where I made some friends of which I keep in touch with today, they are all over the World. Parkside was my Second home we were “All Family”.

As we get older we all have “Great Memories” of belonging to the Hunslet Family. I played with and against some great players, playing at Headingley was a personal favourite of mine, playing alongside: Bill Ramsay, Alan Preece, Grabsy Wilson, Billy Baldwinson, to name just a few.

When asked who the best opposing Player was, I say “Alex Murphey” who when playing for Leigh at Parkside and we were drawing 6 -6 …Alex droped a goal with his back to the Posts, without looking—–just a split second before I got to him !!

Billy Baldwinson is someone I have to thank for me getting my Hunslet Blazer; we were playing York in a Yorkshire Cup Tie and I had told Billy before the Game that up to that point I had had 14 games to my Credit and needed one more Game before I could go off to Rawcliffs Taylors!! I was substitute forward with about two minutes left to full time and we were leading 7 – 5…..Billy went down in a tackle, and he stayed down !! – Trainer on, – me up off the Bench, track suit off, – Harry Jepson shouting “wait” …..Billy limped off, me on !! as I passed Billy he gave me a Giant Wink and beaming smile !!

That was me off to Rawcliffs for the Blazer, “Thanks Billy”.

I need to mention some of the Great motivational Coaches at Parkside, John Groves, Malcom Abbey, Jack Booth, Harry Poole, Alan Preece, just to name a few. I took part in the first” Professional Players Strike” at Parkside, of which I am not proud of and played in the first Sunday game in Great Britain: Huntlet A v. Leeds in 1970 – admission by Program.

Unfortunately my Rugby career ended in January 1973 when playing against Batley at Parkside, I had broken through and going in for a try, when Cliff Williams, who had left Hunslet, after great service, ankle tapped me, where I fell heavily on my shoulder, and that was it ! I never recovered enough to play again…..but – no regrets, I would do it all again, I am proud and fortunate to have become a proffesional Player with Hunslet, I Played over 73 First Team Games and I remain glad I did not take the Leeds £150 sign-on.

As my wife Yvonne says – “You can take the boy out of Hunslet, but you cannot take Hunslet out of the Boy”

Hunslet Parkside was the best education a Boy and Man could have, it gave me courage, Comradeship and economics -with the great wages it paid! (joke!) along with lifelong friends who share that bond to this day.

On my retirement from Rugby I took up amature football, playing my last game at 46 years of age, then took up amature refereeing (football) which I take part in still today at 68 years of age.

One of the proudest things that will always remain with me, is when my family tell other people with pride that “My dad played for Hunslet R.L.F.C

Thank you Ken good reading. The spelling and English Grammar is perfect. Not bad for a Pearson Street lad or did Yvonne write it for you.