West Hull ARLFC
The West Hull Community Sports Club had its beginnings in the early 1960s, when a local football team called Eskimo decided to play rugby league. With most of the players working at the local Birds Eye factory on Hessle Road, the rugby team was formed in 1961 and was called Birds Eye ARLFC.
By the end of the 60s, Birds Eye had become not only one of the top teams in Hull but also in the country. They won many local competitions and became a top force in the Yorkshire and National competitions. Unfortunately no records were kept in the 60s.
In the 1970s Birds Eye moved to their base in Gillett Street, Hessle Road. In the 1971 season Birds Eye won the original Amateur Yorkshire Cup. With the formation of the British Amateur Rugby League Association in 1971, Birds Eye became West Hull ARLFC and in their now famous green and gold shirts won the first ever BARLA Yorkshire Cup in 1973.
The West Hull ARLFC bandwagon had begun and the 70s was a very successful time for West Hull. This team played in the mighty Hull and District Premier League. With only five teams in this top league - competition was tough and the Hull League was getting stronger under the BARLA whip.
West Hull’s fame increased in the 1976/77 season when as Cawoods they defeated local rivals Hull Dockers in the BARLA National Cup final and then in the 1977/78 season they became the first amateur team to beat a professional team for 90 years when they beat Halifax in the John Players first round at the old Thrum Hall ground.
In the 70s they were also runners up twice in the BARLA Yorkshire Cup in 19775/76 and 1979/80 losing to Pointers Panthers and Ace 13-6 and 8-2 respectively. Both matches were played at the Boulevard. They also reached the National Cup final once in the 70s losing to Pilkington Recreation ARLFC in the 1978/79 final 9-6.
In the late 70s West Hull decided to start a youth team and under the guidance of former player Mick Holiday they formed an Under 19 team and success came their way in the first season when in 1979/80 they defeated Batley Boys 1-0 in the Youth Yorkshire Cup with a soon to be Great Britain star Paul Eastwood drop goal.
Coaches of the 70s were Jimmy Lawson, Johnny Whiteley, Kenny Windley and Tony Geraghty, with the likes of Alan Cowan and Terry Everson leading the way off the field.
The 1980s heralded vast periods of change for all; in the summer of 1980 more than 80 players turned up for pre-season training with Johnny Whiteley back in charge and Kenny Windley and Ray Medd his assistants.
This early period of the eighties saw many of the older players hanging up their boots and an influx of young players signing on. They held their own in the Hull league and in the 1981/82 season under the guidance of Terry Devonshire they won their second BARLA Yorkshire Cup 33-16 against Featherstone Jubilee.
Once again over the rest of the decade player changes with an emphasis on youth with two or three old heads saw Wests progress. They made it a record five times winners of the BARLA Yorkshire Cup when they defeated local rivals Jesmond 14-12 in 1984/1985. They then turned over Hull team Ace Amateurs 21-14 in 1987/1988. They made it five wins out of seven a year later when they beat Hunslet Junction at Elland Road 32-21.
The green and golds only National Cup appearance in the eighties came in 1984/1985 when in search of the double they fell at the final hurdle to Jubilee at Headingley 26-10.
One of the major developments on the whole of the amateur game occurred in 1986 when the National League was formed after a meeting with leading BARLA officials at our club. Ten top teams from around the country became founder members of this new league. Wests represented the Hull area and amateur national league rugby came into its own.
West Hull hit the heights in season 1988/1989 when their final game of the season they had to defeat Wigan St Patrick’s by 18 points or more to clinch the league title. Fortunately Lawrie Rawling’s green and gold outfit were in top form and won the game 42-6 to win the championship.
The 1980s saw Wests concentrate on a fully developed youth policy over the decade from junior ages upwards. The under 19s hit the national stage in the 1985-1986 season when they beat local side Villa 21-9 in the National Youth Cup final, this team was the start of major times for the club for the next ten years.
Coaches of the 80s were Johnny Whiteley, Terry Devonshire, Tony Geraghty, Ray Medd and Lawrie Rawling. With the off the field strategy being held together by the likes of Terry Everson, Dave Girtchen, Ray Medd and Ken Platten.
The early 1990s saw the closure of the West Hull Gillett Street headquarters and the club moved to the Circle, Anlaby Road. During this decade West Hull became arguably the top amateur club in the country.
The decade began with many youngsters in Wests ranks and in 1990-1991 they were relegated to Division 2 of the National League. They bounced straight back the following season winning the second division title and losing only once in the season.
By the middle of the 90s the National League had changed to the National conference League and after defeating arch rivals Woolston Rovers in the National Cup final 7-6 in the 1994-1995 season they went on to be Premier Division champions in seasons 1996/1997, 1998/1999, and 1999/2000 to put them on the top of the amateur tree.
West Hull rewrote the history books in 1996 when they were the first amateur team to reach the fifth round of the Challenge Cup. They demolished Highfield Borough away in the third round, and then on a momentous evening at The Boulevard they overcame a torrential snow blizzard to defeat York 10-4 to reach the fifth round. Top division professionals Wakefield Trinity put paid to Wests dreams when they beat them in the next round.
The 90s saw the youth policy come to full fruition when the Under 18s coached by Ken Newby and Graham Batty smashed all records. They won the Yorkshire Cup 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96 and 1996/97 and were also runners up in 1998/99 season. They backed this up with National Youth League Championships in 1993/94 and 1996/97. They also went on to win the National Youth Cup in 1995/96 and 1997/98 and were beaten finalists in the 1993/94 season.
The coaches of the 90s were Ken Platten, Lawrie Rawling, Carl Sanderson, Eddie Bennett, Garry Lumb, Richard O’Brien, Phil Windley and Adrian Hart. Off the field stalwarts Terry Everson, Ray Medd, Dave Girtchen and Ken Platten were still going strong along with new recruits Pete Newby and Arthur Redfern.
With the closure of the Circle, West Hull were to move home once again and they found themselves playing their matches at The Boulevard in the late nineties but this never affected them on the field. The Millennium saw them once again win the National Conference Premier Division for the third season in succession.
Phil Windley’s men broke even more records in the 2001/02 season by winning their fourth consecutive National Conference Premier Division title their fifth championship in six seasons. They accomplished this by beating Leigh Miners in the first ever play-off final. They achieved the ‘golden double’ by winning the National Cup final against Ince Rose Bridge at Blackpool to complete that historic feat which no other club has achieved before.
The green and golds who were dubbed as the greatest amateur team ever nearly achieved the same double in 2002/03 but heartbreak saw them become runners up in both the National Conference Premier Grand Final to Siddal and come off second best to Oldham St Annes in Blackpool a week before in the BARLA National Cup final.
West Hull were also runners up to Siddal in the 2003/04 season in the NCL Grand Final but in the last eight seasons they have been champions five times and runners up three times a record to be proud of.
In the 90s and through to the present day West Hull have put more effort into their youth and run teams from 6 years old to 18 years old. They also have a strong ‘A’ team who play in the local league as the West Hull Lions.
Towards the end of 2003 West Hull ARLFC changed their name to West Hull Community Sports Club moved into their new ‘home’ at Francis Askew School and are back to their roots on North Road, Hessle Road.
Now at West Hull CSC we have had further success under coaches Mark Hewitt and Johann Windley in the 2014 season winning the National Conference League Premier League and also the Conference Challenge Cup and the League play offs.