Early years 1983-1923

W.H.Gillston Founder of Hunslet

W.H.Gillston Founder of Hunslet

The roots or Hunslet Rugby League club can be traced back as far as the early 1860s,when the “peep of the day” and “evening star” cricket club merged to form Hunslet Cricket Club.Their ground was woodhouse hill enclosure,leased from the Cemetary Tavern (nowadays known as
The Parnaby Tavern).

In the early 1980s the landlord announced that he again would lease his enclosure in the winter this time for Rugby Football. The cricket club anxious to protect their playing surface, formed their own rugby club and on May21st,1883 granted two local teams Hunsletr “Albion” and Hunslet “Excelsior”
£30 to form The Hunslet Rugby Club.

The First captain of the club was William (Billy)Gilston and the first strip was blue and white quarterd shirts. Their first game was v Hull “A” on October 6th 1883. The team that day was Dickinson, Gilston, Carr, Patchett, Pullan, Hill, Mallinson, Mitchell, Whiting, Barlow, Anderson, Collins, Baines, Simpsonand Passmore. Hill scored the first try for Hunslet and captain Gilston the first goal.

In December another team “Imperial”  toamalgamated strengthern the club further. In 1884 Hunslet changed their strip to chocolate and white and entered the Rugby Union cup in the third round Hunslet played Leeds St Johns (now Leeds Rhinos R.L.F.C). Hunslet been the junior club suprised their local rivals infront of a large crowd by beating them this was the turning point for the club. Hunslet built a stand for the spectators then Mr Cusworth the land owner increased the rent to £1 per day later reducing to £200 per annum.Hunslet thought this was too much and began looking for a new ground.

Hunslet decided on a piece of land at Hunslet Carr, called “Low HOLD”.The club spent two weeks man-handling 2000 tons of rubble,laying a playing surface and re-erecting their stand. The land owners Low Moor Iron and Coal Company charged £50 per annum rent. The new ground was “PARKSIDE”

On February 11th 1888 Hunslet played their first game at parkside beating Mirfield in the side that day was William Goldthorpe the first of 5 brothers to play for the Hunslet club.

In 1892 Hunslet won the Yorkshire cup beating local rivals Leeds 21-0 the team included three of the Goldthorpe brothers, only on one occation did 4 play in the same game all but William played against Brighouse Rangers and Liversedge. William being the oldest of the Golthorpes started the Hunslet connection in 1880’s which only ended in the 1930’s when the most famous of the five brothers Albert left Hunslet.

In season1897-98 Hunslet became Yorkshire Senior League Champions the following season reached the Challenge Cup Final.

The ground for the spectators in the early days was very basic with only the old woodhouse hill stand and no terracing farm carts and wagonettes proveded elavated views and wagonettes proveded transport from their headquarters (they changed at the Anchor and Engine pub)until the pavillion was built in 1901.
In 1905-06 Hunslet became the first winners of the Yorkshire Challenge Cup beating Halifax 13-3 in this season Hunslet add 5 County representatives three Yorkshire and two Cumbria.

In 1907-08 Hunslet achived the unthinkable winning all four cups available that season they bwere the Yorkshire Cup, Yorkshire League, Challenge Cup,
beating Hull 14-0 and the championship Trophy beating Oldham 12-2 after a replay. The Hunslet Pack was dubbed “The Terrible Six” by the teams from across the pennines. The pack was Tom Walsh, Harry Wilson, Jack Randall, Bil l(tubby) Brookes, Bill Jukes and John Willie Higson the back included
Billy Batten (first season) Fred Farrar, Fred Smith, Walter Goldthorpe, Herbert Place, Harry Cappleman and the ever green Albert Goldthorpe who kicked 101 goals that season. Albert played 713 games for Hunslet scoring at least 75 tries and around 992 goals. County caps were plentyful in the following seasons 1908-9 seven players received county honors 1909-10 six and in 1911-12 seven.