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Sportsmen & Clubs

Kevin Ward

Born 5th August 1957, Kevin Ward started his career at Stanley Rangers. He made his rugby league debut for Castleford and embarked on a remarkable career which earned him recognition as one of the all time great forwards in both Great Britain and Australia.

He had flirted with a career in professional football before Castleford seized the initiative and signed him as an unproven but highly promising rugby league player. A key member of a superb Mal Reilly side, Kevin soon achieved cult status for his powerful, aggressive and highly skilled play.

He signed for a 'summer season' in 1987 with Manly Sea Eagles in Australia. Again he received recognition for his massive impact on the game and added a Grand Final winners medal to boot. Even today, Manly-Warringah fans often remark, 'what about that pommy Kevin Ward!'

Joining St Helens in 1990, he was again a hit with the fans for his tremendous power and ability and was a member of the 1993 Premiership winning team until a tackle resulted in a horrendous broken leg and ended his career. He almost lost his leg in the weeks that followed. Even now he can't walk long distances, let alone run.

During his playing career, Kevin was also chosen to represent Great Britain on twelve occasions, the last being the 1992 World Cup Final against Australia at Wembley. At club level, arguably his biggest career highlights were winning the 1986 Challenge Cup with Castleford, The 1987 NSWRL Premiership with Manly and the 1992 Lancashire Cup with St. Helens.

John W Smales

Born in 1888, died 1930, aged 42, he was known to most as Jack. A coal miners son, he started his Rugby League career playing for Outwood at 17 years of age. Hunslet signed him in 1905, making his first team appearance the same year. He was part of the 1907/1908 squad in which they won all four cups, The Challenge Cup, Championship Cup, Yorkshire Cup and Yorkshire League. Jack also played for Yorkshire on five occasions and in 1914 toured Australia with the British Team. He was also in the Great British Team, which won its opening game against South Australia - 101 points to nil on 23rd May 1914. After this success, his career, along with many others was temporarily suspended by the 1914 - 18 War.

Jack resumed his career in 1919 by making 25 appearances, he would go on to make a total of 255 appearances for Hunslet, the last of which was at York on 2nd April 1920. On retiring from Rugby, Jack was host at the Bee Hive, Wakefield, where he was electrocuted by making contact with a loose live wire, whilst putting on a barrel of beer.


Photo Courtesy of Les Hoole

Brian Briggs

Brian started his career playing rugby in Stanley before signing for Huddersfield. In 1954 he was invited to tour Australia with Great Britain, he was not selected to play in any of the three tests but the experience was to prove invaluable for his future. He was next signed by York and Huddersfield. He was then signed by Saint Helens from Huddersfield on the 14th February, 1958, and made his Saint Helens début against Oldham on the 15th February, 1958. He was a hard running and tough tackling second row who added great steel to the Saint Helens pack at the time. In 83 matches for Saint Helens Brian scored 4 tries, kicked 11 goals for a total points aggregate of 34 points. Brian first try for Saint Helens came at Hunslet as Saint Helens cruised to a 33 points to two victory. Brian also had the pleasure of watchig Tom Van Vollenhoven notch four tries that particular day. On April 14th. 1959 Brian scored a try and kicked two goals as Saint helens thumped Hull in front of 18,500 spectators.

Brian managed to earn two caps for Yorkshire whilst at Saint Helens. He partnered Dick Huddart in the second row in the resounding 1959 Championship Final and in the Championship Semi-final defeat on the 7th of May, 1960. He transferred to the emerging great Wakefield Trinity side of the early 1960s. For £5000, some highlights of his career whilst playing for Wakefield Trinity were:

Yorkshire Cup Medal 1960/61 - Wakefield 16 Huddersfield 10

Yorkshire Cup medal 1961/62 - Wakefield 19 Leeds 9

Cup Final Wembley 1962 - Wakefield 12 Huddersfield 6

Championship play off Final 1962 - Huddersfield 14 Wakefield 5 (runner up medal)

Brian ended his career playing on loan at York. He played most of his games as a prop forward along with another Stanley rugby player, Albert Firth. He did a tour in South Africa with Wakefield during July 1962. Brian went on to coach in Australia before returning to Wakefield as a committee member. After leaving rugby he was the host at the British Oak, Stanley and Fox and Grapes, Eastmoor before retiring to Australia where he passed away in the late 1990s.  

Malcolm Sampson

Born 12th March 1940, when aged 11 he was playing rugby with Stanley Saint Peters School before spending a short spell playing football for Lee Moor United. In 1957 he signed for Wakefield Trinity, and was playing prop forward, making his first team debut against Huddersfield - Wakefield won. Malcolm’s third game was Wakefield V Australia, which was another win, the future looked promising for the young player.Misfortune struck when he was injured in a car crash in 1960, the injury kept Malcolm out of the game until 1963 when he resumed his career against Halifax.

Back in form Malcolm played 19 consecutive games which included the final against Wigan at Wembley. This was without doubt a highlight in his career, scoring the first try for Wakefield in front of a crowd of 84,492 people. Wakefield went on to win 25 - 10. He kept his place as prop forward until 1966 when he was transferred to Bramley, where he kept a regular place as prop forward until he retired in 1972.

David Sampson

Born 6th August 1944, David spent his school days at Stanley Saint Peters School where he played very little rugby being in his own words slight of stature. At the age of 15 he had a set back when Wakefield Trinity could not find a place for him. Disappointed, he applied again the following year (1960) when he was accepted to start his rugby career with Wakefield Juniors. In 1963 he captained Wakefield Trinity Under 19s Team and played for England against France. In June 1963 he signed as a professional for Wakefield Trinity.

There was only room for players of good potential in Wakefield’s First team during this period, David had the privilege of playing alongside the better players of the game such as Neil Fox, who had just made his sixth appearance for Great Britain against Australia.David made his first team debut against Hunslet in a Yorkshire Cup where he suffered a fractured shoulder after only three minutes, evidence of the hard physical side of the game of rugby. David would play on 50 occasions for the first team before transferring to Bramley in 1966. Here he was a regular member of the team, playing over 250 games at centre or second row forward. One of the highlights of his career was in 1973 when he was in the side that won the Floodlit Trophy at Widness, the score was 15 - 7.Another highlight was being appointed Captain in the 1977/78 Testimonial Season.

On 6th January 1979, at the age of 35, he transferred to Castleford and played prop forward. After making 19 consecutive appearances David broke his leg whilst playing against his former team Wakefield at Belle View. He was out of the game for 18 months, returning in 1981 aged 37 when Castleford played Wigan.In 1982 David went on to play more than 100 games for Stanley Rangers before Castleford again signed him as Assistant Coach to Mal Reilly, during this period Castleford would win the Yorkshire Cup on 3 occasions. Then in another incredible twist, he was a member of the Castleford squad at Wembley 1986, aged 42, when Castleford won the cup against Hull Kingston Rovers.In 1988 he succeeded Mal Reilly as First Team Coach, in the same year his team were runners up to Bradford Northern. He completed his remarkable stint as a player by playing 28 games for Stanley Rangers as prop forward, retiring at the age of 44. Having been involved in the game most of his life, he moved on to Doncaster as First team Coach then onto Nottingham City in 1992. In 1993 he then came back to where he started at Stanley, as Stanley Rangers First Team Coach.  

Stanley Church Cricket Club

Stanley Church Cricket Club whose ground was at Lee Moor beat Ossett Conservative Club in 1895 to win the Wakefield and District Cup in 1895, the score being;

Ossett 88 all out, Stanley 98 for 1 wicket (Goulthorpe 54 not out, E Holroyd 34)

Stanley Church Cricket Club again won the following year by beating Lofthouse Cricket Club, the scores being;

Lofthouse 80 all out

Stanley 83 for two wickets

The captain on both occasions was the curate Rev W P Kingston. It is reported that he brought both Presentation Speeches to a close by saying “I am, gentleman, very sorry you lost, but rather pleased that we won, and I hope you win next time if we don’t”.

Barry Hoban

Born 5th February 1940, and son of Joseph Hoban, who was himself a well known cyclist in the village, Barry is a former English professional cyclist who rode during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was the previous holder of the record (before Mark Cavendish) for the most stage wins in the Tour de France by a British rider, winning eight between 1967 to 1975. He holds the record for the most Tours completed by a British rider – having finished 11 of the 12 he started between 1965 and 1978. He was also the only Briton to have won two consecutive stages of the Tour until Mark Cavendish won stages 12 and 13 of the 2008 edition (Cavendish then twice repeated the feat, winning the second and third, 10th and 11th stages of the 2009 Tour de France). Cavendish equalled Hoban's record of stage wins on Stage 11 of the 2009 edition, and beat it by winning Stage 19.


Early career

Hoban started cycle racing in 1955, and by the end of the year was competing against Tom Simpson in individual time trials. Two years later, he was fourth in the British League of Racing Cyclists hill-climb (the senior title being won by Simpson). Despite his early prowess as a climber, Hoban later established himself as one of Europe's best sprinters. Inspired by the European successes of fellow Yorkshire man Brian Robinson and of Simpson, Hoban went to France in 1962, turned professional two years later, and stayed abroad for another 16 years. He rode for Mercier-Hutchinson-BP; his team leader was Raymond Poulidor who is famous for coming second in tdf's but never winning. Barry was single then and used to come back to Wakefield for the winter with a case full of used shorts/jerseys etc and sell them to the local riders (it wasn't easy then to get good quality kit and what was available was expensive). Dozens of riders in the BCF West York’s division had a pair of shorts with Mercier Hutchinson embroidered on the legs. Back then, the best frames were hand built British ones and Maurice Woodrup, a Leeds frame builder, would have a new frame sprayed Mercier pink waiting for him each year. He would take it back to have Mercier transfers attached. In the 1967 Tour de France, after the death of Tom Simpson, Hoban was allowed to win the next stage. Two years later, in 1969, Hoban married Simpson's widow.

Tour de France stage wins

1967 - Stage 14 - Carpentras – Sète – allowed to win after the death of Tom Simpson on the previous stage

1968 - Stage 19 - Grenoble – Sallanches – a rarity in that Hoban won a mountain stage, not a sprint

1969 - Stage 18 - Mourenx – Bordeaux

1969 - Stage 19 - Bordeaux - Brive-la-Gaillarde – the first Briton to win successive stages of the Tour. Mark Cavendish being the second to equal this achievement in 2009

1973 – Stage 11 - Montpellier - Argelès-sur-Mer

1973 - Stage 19 - Bourges – Versaille

1974 - Stage 13 - Avignon – Montpellier

1975 - Stage 8 - Angoulême - Bordeaux


Other career highlights

Hoban also won two stages of the 1964 Vuelta a Espana and the 1974 Gent-Wevelgem. In the “Mounment” classics, his best performances were third places in Liege-Bastogne-Liege (1969) and Paris-Roubaix (1972). Towards the end of a career spent largely in mainland Europe, Hoban occasionally returned to the UK to race; he won the London-Bradford race and was second in the British professional road race championship in 1979, and he won the Grand Prix of Manchester in 1980.

At least one bicycle was made with his name on it, including Barry Hoban-badged frames made by Coventry Cycles (later trading as Coventry Eagle). This is a common practice of retired racing cyclists. Hoban lives in Mid-Wales after moving there to work with the factory that built his frames.


Dean Sampson

Coming from a family of Sportsmen, His father Dave played for Wakefield Trinity and Dean's uncle Brian organised the extras for the favoured rugby league ' movie 'This Sporting Life'. Dean started with Stanley Rangers as a prop forward and signed for Castleford in 1986. Dean played as a front rower for Castleford from August 1987 to September 2002, as well as playing in International matches, including the 1995 World Cup. He played for Castleford again in 2003 when they went through an injury crisis. He scored on his comeback game againstWarrington Wolves. He also played once more for Castleford in 2004 against Hull Dockers in the challenge cup. Overall Dean played 431 games for Castleford scoring 68 tries. Dean was a real fans favourite for Castleford and his name was often chanted by the home fans. After retirement, Sampson became the club's academy coach and won the Junior academy championship in 2004. He left the club in 2005 and moved to Hull KR and became the assistant coach there. He left Hull KR after a brief period and stayed out of the game for a while.Dean rejoined Castleford for the 2009 Super Leauge Season as the clubs acadamy coach once again.

Wheatsheaf Golf Society

Photos taken between 1990 & 2000

Thank you to Lisa & Paul of the Wheatsheaf for these photos


Stanley Albion 1932

League winners Division 2

From the collection of John Williams


Saint Swithins Cricket Team

We estimate these photos to be from the 1930s

From the collection of John Williams


Photo taken outside the Graziers pub


Stanley United

The team was established in 1966 and has now grown to 4 senior, 12 junior and 2 girls teams. Stanley United Saturday first team play in the West Yorkshire Amateur League and have now found a home at Stanley Rodillians ground. The Saturday second team play in the 1st Division Wakefield and District FA League, their home games are played on the Ferry Lane football fields.

Stanley United Photos Over the last 25 years

From the collection of John Williams


  Division 3 Champions and Division 3 League Cup Winners 1979/80Back row; J Rowley, W Franks, B Wood, S Wood, M Carney, J Butel, B PowellFront Row; J McHale, N Moorby, B Huntington, K Asquith, I Hogan

Stanley United presentation night 1970s

Photos were taken in the Wagon & Horses

From the collection of John Williams


Stanley Rodillians RUFC

Rothwell Grammar School opened in 1933; it was a school that always encouraged its pupils in sport. The school produced many sportsmen that went on to play for other clubs in the area. In the 1950's the school played an annual fixture against the old boys of the school. At this time two or three of the older pupils decided to form their own rugby club and preserve some of the old traditions of the school. In 1960 the club formed and began to play friend lies; then the following season the club started to play a full fixture list. Several former pupils of Rodillians, who had been playing senior rugby in the area, joined the club and the name of Old Rodillians was chosen. With the new experienced players on board the club became a force to be reckoned with and in the 1962-63 season set the clubs record of played 26 won 25 and drew 1, scoring 700 points in and conceding only 55. In the same season Ken Hardman scored 50 tries which is still a club record. The rapid growth of the club made it difficult to recruit enough players; the second team was always a few players short so in 1967 the decision was taken to become an open club allowing the team to recruit from other clubs and schools. This decision proved a success as in that season the club got to the final of the Yorkshire shield, a cup that they won 1968 and 1973. The side moved from their ground at Lofthouse to the one at Lee Moor in 1970, this move brought a strengthening of players to the club. During this time the team was in the top ten teams of the county. Towards the end of the 1970s through players retiring and a lack of young talent, the club started to decline. In the 1980s the club ended up back in the league it had started from. Today the club is hopeful of securing funding to improve their facilities and to help build a strong squad to bring back the glory days that in the past the club has enjoyed.


George Howe

George Howe was a football player from Stanley who played for York City in the 1950s after he was signed from Huddersfield Town for £700. He remains the 15th most picked squad member in the clubs history, notching up a total of 309 games in total for the club. His most succesful time at the club was in 1955 when the team reached the semi final of the FA Cup beating the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Blackpool, that team still remains Yorks best ever team. The third round game against Blackpool remains his greatest moment, George played Stanley Mathews out of the game helping his team to a shock 2 - 0 win. George retired from football in 1962, working at Pinderfields Hospital as a joiner. Tragically he died aged 48 in November 1971, he was a quiet man who never spoke about his football career. Many of his workmates at Pinderfields did not know of his previous career until his death.

Stanley Cycling Club

There was a cycling club in Stanley over 100 years ago; it probably started in the 1890s which is described as the Golden age of Bicycles. Around this time the safety bicycle was introduced, however in this period it was only wealthy people that had them, a miner on an average wage could not afford to buy a bike. In 1921 a new club was formed, around this time bicycles became very popular in the village. This was due to falling production costs to make them, and because peoples wages were rising making the bicycle much more affordable. Named the Stanley Cycling Club it was founded by a Mr Hartley and a Mr Dale. The club organised special outings that involved cycling well in excess of 100 miles in a day. The best known cyclist from Stanley is Joe Hoban; born in 1910 he won many medals in his cycling career. His son Barry went on to win eight Tour De France stages.


Don Howe, Local Football Hero

Donald (Don) Howe was born in Outwood on 26th November 1917. He lived at Bottomboat as a child, his father was an under manager at Newmarket. He played for Saint Peters School football team along with his older brother Joe. During this period the team won many trophies and Don set the record for most goals scored in a season. He joined the ground staff of Bolton Wanderers and made his league debut against Liverpool in October 1936. Over the next few years he played in every position for the club except centre-forward. In the 1938-39 season Howe scored nine goals. Of the 35 players on the staff of Bolton Wanderers 32 joined the armed services and the other three went into the coal mines and munitions. Don joined the 53 Bolton Field Regiment, and after spending time in Baghdad, the regiment moved to Kirkurk on 8th January 1943. They were eventually relocated to Kifri which was to become their main base for the next five months. While there Don Howe played for the British Army against the Polish Army in Baghdad. He scored one of the goals in the 4-2 victory. After the War Howe returned to Bolton Wanderers and played the majority of his games at wing-half. He also replaced Harry Goslin as captain of the club. Howe was ever-present in the 1950-51 season. He retired from football in the summer of 1952. He had scored 35 goals in 286 league and cup games for Bolton Wanderers He briefly worked as a coach at the club before finding employment at a local firm of paper merchants. Don died in 1978.


Stanley Rangers

Rugby league has been played since 1919 in the Village, back then the club name was the Stanley Nibs. The headquarters started at the Wagons and Horses pub and then moved to the Miners' Arms at Lee Moor in 1964. When the Miners' Arms was closed by the brewery, the rugby club was offered facilities at the Ship Inn across the road . Around the same time the club formed a junior section that was run by David Sampson, Ian Harris and Alan Gibb. In the 1980s the club split forming of the Stanley Rangers Old Boys open age team. What was left of the club went on to form a partnership with the local cricket club, Stanley Falcons, who between them went on to develop the facilities at Lee Moor. In the late 1990s the two Rugby teams rejoined under the Head Coach, Dean Sampson. This made for one of the most successful seasons ever at Stanley, with a trophy haul of 15 cups and League titles between all the reformed club sides. Recently in 2007 Stanley Rangers Open were accepted into the National Conference League, Division Two.

Stanley Rangers 1955/56 season

Photo courtesy of Dave Wakefield who played for the team in the 1950s, he then went on to play for Wakefield Trinity in the 1960s along with other local players such as Malcolm Sampson, Dave is pictured in both the photos below


Stanley Rangers 1955/56 season

Back Row: J Hudson, J Croone, B Wright, W Collwood, A Sampson, Sampson

Front Row: B Roebuck, D Wakefield, E Morris, B Field, R Morris, D Brown, R Greene


Wakefield Trinity’s League & Cup winning team 1960/61

Back Row: J Booth Staff), H Wilkinson (Staff), R Rylance, D W Armitage, J Ridge, L Pounder, S Milner (Vice Chairman), W Simpson, E W Sugden, J Atkinson, E Thomas (Sec. Manager), W Armour (Masseur).

Centre Row: J Malpass (PT Instructor), N Fox, S Smith, J Smith, T Sampson, G Round, B Briggs, D Lamming, G Oakes, A Firth, M Sampson, D Wakefield, K Traill (Coach).

Front Row: J Wilkinson, A Skene, F Smith, J Etty, F West (President), D Turner (Captain), S H Hadfield (Chairman), K Holiday (Vice Captain), D Metcalfe, H Poynton, K Rollin.

Stanley Rangers Photos

Taken by Brian Robinson

The photos below were taken by Brian during the Easter break in 1980 when Stanley Rangers visited Albi in France for the first time. Brian is sure these photos will be of interest to the "boys" from the under 15 and 17 teams and their families. The group photo has players from both teams and some of the host families and officials of the two clubs, Puygouzon and Albi, where they played. The first team photo was taken at Wakefield Trinity's ground.


George Duffield (MBE) Jockey

Born in Spa Fold, George Duffield began his career in horse racing at the age of 15 in 1962 when he joined Heath House stables. George rode his first winner - Syllable - on 15th June 1967 at Yarmouth and went on to ride over 2,500 more in a career that spanned over 40-years, before retiring in March 2005. He is the 9th most successful jockey in the history of British racing. For over 30 years George was stable jockey to Sir Mark Prescott who took over the licence from Jack Waugh at the Heath House stables. The most sucessful horse for the partnership was Spindrifter who recorded 13 wins in one season. He rode some of the best horses for outside yards. Notably, his two English classic wins in the Oaks and the St Leger in 1992 with the horse User Friendly. George was awarded the MBE in the 2002, and again receved an award in 2005, the Goodwood Racecourse lifetime achievement award. Now retired he still spends time in the saddle however, riding several lots each day, when his experience is invaluable. Sir Mark Prescott always said of George " He's an excellent work rider, the greatest slug ever born will pick up the bit with George; he pulls a two year old together and gets it to use itself even when it has previously shown little ability. I still would not have any other jockey from the past 150 years ahead of him"


Pigeon shoots in the Village

During the 19th and early 20th Centuries, pigeon shoots took place in. The competitors each bred and trained their own pigeons for these events. The aim in breeding and training was so that the pigeons, when liberated, were quick enough to fly away and avoid the shot from a gun. The competitors' training was to be a marksman who could shoot the pigeon after liberation. The competitors had to shoot the pigeons of their opponents as they were liberated, signalled by the neutral controller who acted as referee. Only a dead pigeon was a 'score'. The winner was obviously the one who shot the greater number of pigeons. There was much gambling on these events - local bookmakers giving the odds almost like the method used on horse racing and greyhound racing. This again was a sport which gave competitors and the villagers much pleasure. Fred Burkinshaw (1877-1925) was in 1898/1914 regarded as one of the best marksmen in Stanley in these pigeon shooting events.


Fred Burkinshaw in 1899 outside his house at Lane Ends

(these houses stood opposite the fish shop) 

Pigeon Racing

A popular sport in the early 20th Century, many local men had there own pigeon loft in the village. Pigeon racing is a sport involving the release of specially trained racing pigeons to cover the specified distance, it is then measured and the animals rate of travel is calculated and compared with all of the other pigeons in the race to determine which animal returned at the highest speed. My Great Grand Father Walter Barber was a local pigeon fancier, he had a loft on Chapel Street Long Causeway. He along with at least a dozen other local men would take the pigeons in a basket on their bikes many miles away to release them. Sometimes they would even be taken further away on the train. The longest distance recorded of a pigeon flight in Stanley was 872 miles in 1965. The sport has all but died out today, but what a site it must have been in those days to see the hundreds of pigeons flying around the village.

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