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Goal Kickers

Sincere thanks to David Gronow for permission to publish the following article and photographs.

Sincere thanks to David Gronow for permission to publish the following article and photographs.

The path toward tries having greater value and importance than goals began from the late 1800s onwards.

Under the practised skills of modern kickers using a contrived aid (kicking tee), much of the uncertainty of goal kicking has been removed in comparison to the conditions experienced by the earlier kickers - no lightweight balls in those days with games played on pitches ankle deep in mud!

The fundamental rule of rugby football that goals can only be scored by kicking the ball off the ground has been ignored, and a further link with the original basis of the sport has been lost. However, this should not detract from the fact that the Huddersfield club have a great history of prolific goal kickers.

Edgar Wrigley, noted for his goal-kicking abilities, was born in Masterton, New Zealand and during the 1907-08 season he was in the 'All Golds' squad which toured England, playing in all three Test matches against the Northern Union.

Following the tour Wrigley returned to England for a full-time professional career, signed with Runcorn for £400 and a guarantee of employment as a plumber, later moving to Huddersfield where he kicked 162 goals in 169 appearances.

The Huddersfield side of the 1914-15 vintage was full of players who were household names led by Harold Wagstaff and included Albert Rosenfeld, Stanley Moorhouse and Ben Gronow - behind them was Major Holland at full back, who had made his Huddersfield debut in January 1909 and went on to play 218 games for the Fartowners, kicking 262 goals

During the 1913-14 season he established a rugby league record by kicking 131 goals - this record was short-lived as it was to be broken the following season by Ben Gronow.

Gronow was a formidable kicker, in his playing career for Huddersfield he made 395 appearances and kicked 673 goals and in season 1919-20, the first full season after the First World War, he headed the rugby league goal-scoring charts, kicking 147 goals - to this day a Huddersfield club record of goals in a season.

In the early thirties, a Coventry RU player, Len Bowkett joined Huddersfield and went on to play in two Wembley finals for the club.

During the ten years he was at Huddersfield he accumulated 305 goals in 274 appearances.

At the start of the 1933-34 season Alex Fiddes joined Huddersfield from Hawick RU and went on to play 467 games for Huddersfield (166 goals), subsequently to be followed by W. T. (Bill) Davies (221 goals) and Jeff Bawden, a prolific point-scorer for the Huddersfield club.

Bawden, from Hensingham in Cumbria, played from 1943 to 1952 and kicked 515 goals in 243 games.

Australian Pat Devery was the allocated goal kicker in the early fifties, kicking 401 goals in his Fartown career - to this day he holds the Huddersfield club record for points in a season with 332, comprising 16 tries and 142 goals.

Frank' Spanky' Dyson's goal-kicking talent began to emerge following Pat Devery's retirement in 1954.

A solid reliable full back, he established new Huddersfield records in goal-kicking which will take some surpassing - in making 367 appearances his Huddersfield club record of goals in a career (958) and points in a career (2,072) still remain intact.

When Dyson left for Oldham in 1963, Huddersfield turned to Brian Curry, a local boy from Lockwood ARL, who became the first choice kicker, ending his Fartown career with 473 goals (212 games).

In the late sixties/early seventies it was Frank Davies who was the regular kicker with 435 goals in a Fartown career spanning thirteen years.

When Huddersfield won the Second Division Championship in 1974-75 it was John 'Strawberry' Hartley who finished the season with 110 goals (163 in total from 72 games for Huddersfield).
Other notable goal kickers who wore the Claret and Gold with distinction were Simon Kenworthy (235 goals, 141 appearances from 1985 to 1993), Greg Pearce (230 goals, 76 games from 1992 to 1996), Steve McNamara (283 goals, 88 games from 2001 to 2003) and Chris Thorman (305 goals + 5 drop goals from 154 appearances).

Jeff Bawden

Jeff Bawden - kicked 515 goals in 243 games for the Fartowners

Frank Dyson

Frank Dyson - holds the Huddersfield club record of goals in a career (958)

Chris Thorman

Chris Thorman who kicked 305 goals (+ 5 drop goals) during his Giants career

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