Almanac Rugby League: Cumbria calling

Kevin Haney sent this email to Ian Hauser:


Dear Ian,


I was actually born in the Border City of Carlisle but I live in Workington on the Irish Sea coast – it is about 35 miles from Carlisle. Just to the south of here is Whitehaven and then Barrow-in-Furness lies down in the South West corner of the county.


Sadly no rugby league is played in Carlisle now where football has always been the number one sport. League has its strongest roots in the old coal-mining and steel making communities of the coastal strip.


Probably the greatest ever Cumbrian player was Dick ‘Tiger’ Huddart from Whitehaven who went on to have a superb career with St Helens and then St George in the 1960s – he scored a famous try when the Dragons clinched the 1966 NSW Premiership!


It is the Huddart connection which led me to follow St George as well as that wonderful iconic jumper with the red chevron. It was also the club of Reg Gasnier – a player who I never got to see play live but have always been interested in having heard tales of his magnificent performances for the Kangaroos when they toured GB in the late 1950s and early 1960s.


Of the modern era players James Graham has solid Cumbrian roots and if he hadn’t returned to St Helens then he could have signed for Workington – his favourite club after Saints.


My AFL affiliation is purely down to the Swans stylish guernsey and a the fact that they were based away from the original VFL heartlands. Expansion of both codes is something I am a big advocate of and would love to see the NRL add new clubs in Perth, Brisbane. Wellington and even PNG!


I will set my thinking cap on and see if I can write a few lines which may be of interest, especially regarding the 1982 Kangaroos. I could also send you some photos and match accounts of local League games in Cumbria if we can ever get back to some sort of normality and are able to stage fixtures next year.


Best regards



To read a profile of Dick Huddart and see his career record and statistics click here.



Watch a clip of the First Test between Great Britain and Australia in 1962. At 1.55 Huddart makes a break.




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