Yorkshire League Play Off 1897/98

Hunslet v Bradford

Following the regular season Hunslet and Bradford both finished with 48 points and so the championship was to be decided by a play-off.

It was an atrocious late spring day for the match, wet, cold and thoroughly miserable. The playing surface at Headingley was very muddy and had plenty of standing water on it, only just over 3,000 hardy folk turned out to watch the game. Both teams were at full strength.

Hunslet

Mitchell, Walter Goldthorpe, Albert Goldthorpe (captain), Wright, Hannah, Robinson, Gillings, Kaye, Walsh, Deacon, Barraclough, Young, Bowley, Leach and Ramage.

Bradford Won the toss and elected to take advantage of the wind and rain. It was almost 3.40pm when Albert Goldthorpe eventually got the game under way with Hunslet playing towards the St Michael's Lane end. In view of the conditions it was no surprise that Bradford were able to dominate most of the half indeed the Parksiders had only two real periods in attack. The first came after Bradford were penalised for offside and Albert Goldthorpe made a break, kicked round the full back, and appeared to be obstructed but referee Farrar waved play on. A fine piece of dribbling by Barraclough also took the play into the Bradford quarter but this attack also came to nothing. Between these two attacks Cooper had kicked a goal after Hunslet were penalised for feeding at a scrum and he had also earlier missed an easier attempt. It was 2 - 0 at half time and Bradford must have been disappointed to not have had more points on the board.

In the opening stages of the second half Hunslet were unable to take advantage of the conditions and Bradford had two early chances with drop goals which were both unsuccessful. Then came the turning point, Hunslet were controversially awarded possession on half way. Gillings kicked upfield and the Bradford defence fumbled the slippery ball enabling Ramage to dribble ahead, pick up, and touch down next to the posts. 'Arh Albert' made no mistake with the kick which gave Hunslet a 3 point lead. Bradford came back on the attack but the Hunslet line held firm and good play from the forwards took the ball into the Bradford half. Towards the end of the game the wind appeared to veer around and it again gave Bradford some advantage however they were unable to capitalise on it and there was no further score.

Hunslet 5 Bradford 2

Bradford may have thought themselves unlucky to lose but they failed to take chances in the first half and it was there mistake that led to the try. Hunslet had the better defence and they took the chance when it was presented to them.

Immediately after the game Mrs Brewer the wife of the chairman of the competition committee presented the shield to Albert Goldthorpe who received it on behalf of the team. Albert made a brief speech in which he paid tribute to his team for playing well all throughout the season and he thanked them for all the hard work that they had carried out.