Geoff Wright’s association with rugby league began at the age of twelve when his school master, who was short of players, asked him to take part in a game against a local school. After the match a fellow team mate, who was a keen fan at Thrum Hall, said that if he was going to play rugby league he might as well go watch it.
At a time when Halifax were in their pomp Geoff recalls how his early visits to Thrum Hall didn’t bring about the question of ‘…are they going to win today, but how many are they going to win by.’ As for many of that era, the 1954 Challenge Cup final replay is a prominent event in Geoff’s early rugby league memories, even though he was unable to join the thousands present that day. By the time he set off for the match there were no buses running from Halifax to Odsal and he was forced to return home to listen to the game on the radio. He then headed out to join fellow fans outside the Town Hall in Halifax to console his team at a civic reception, as the winning fans passed by on their coaches on-route back to Warrington!
Despite the disappointment of that record breaking day at Odsal, Geoff remained a loyal fan of both Halifax and rugby league. He still has vivid memories of the old Thrum Hall ground where the crowd were only yards away from the players and he and his friends would jeer at opposing teams’ kickers in an attempt to put them off. As with many of his generation, the ritual surrounding Christmas and Boxing Day matches also remains fresh in his mind. Eating Christmas dinner at tea time was a tradition in his household as a 2pm kick off meant braving the cold Yorkshire weather to support the team in the afternoon.
Hear Geoff Wright on:
- The Halifax side of the 1950s
- Rugby League and the community
- The Rugby League Gazette