Lawkholmers to Cougars - A Rugby League History

Saturday 18 th of April 1903

Five thousand people last Saturday; saw Keighley discharge their last home league game of the season; saw
the “ALL WHITES” exact full compensation for that eight points victory which Holbeck gained at their
expense last December ; saw the Keighley men preserve their unbeaten record for the Lawkholme ground
this season and what was of far more importance, saw the Keighley men secure that distinction they had
fought so valiantly and so brilliantly for since last September – the Championship of the Second Division
of the Northern League, with its consequent promotion to the senior league.

Keighley entered the fray on Saturday with three points lead in the statistical table, and though their
supporters had little doubt of their ability to pull off the remaining home game and thus make their position
as leaders absolutely secure, there was the possibility, in the event of their failing on Saturday and in the
final game of the programme at Birkenhead, and Leeds succeeding in their last two games of the season,
Keighley being deprived of the Championship. The confidence of the Lawkholme teams supporters in the
ability of their team was, fortunately, not misplaced, for while Keighley were trouncing Holbeck, Millom
were very kindly putting Leeds “through the mill” and the two results in combination had the effect of
increasing Keighley’s lead in the competition to five points, and thereby settling in decided fashion the
destiny of the Championship honours for the season 1902-3.

Saturday was a proud day for the Keighley team and their large and loyal following, and it was peculiarly
appropriate that the Championship should have been gained on the birthday of the clubs popular president
(Mr C.P Cass). It was a brilliant day for so important a meeting and the ground was in capital condition.
Mariners Band played selections prior to the match. About the ground were ranged sheets for contributions
on behalf of Chris Hardacre, the popular Keighley centre who is hospital with a broken leg, sustained in the
Lancaster match.

Holbeck turned out as selected for the match, but on the Keighley side, Lord came into the three-quarter
line in the absence of Holmes, who had not received his permit, and Slater and Liddemore were in the
forwards in place of Fearnley and Dawson. The full teams were as below: –
Keighley – A Pearson, Lord, Sharpe, Jagger, Myers, Caine, Holden, Hall, F Pearson, Kilby, Tempest,
Royston, Liddemore, Slater
Holbeck – Snowden, Leonard, Duxbury, Bowen, Steele, Kelly, Wilkinson, Sanders, Blades, Dawson,
Hupton, Hainstock, Sutcliffe, Thorpe, Taylor

Myers started for Keighley against the slope and wind, and from the first it was palpably apparent that the
“All Whites” meant business. Myers was particularly in evidence, and immediately after the start his
judicious use of touch took play to the Holbeck line, where the defenders had a warm time of it for the first
15 minutes. They, however, met the Keighley attacks with great resoluteness, stopping Myers, Caine and
Jagger a few yards from the line in rapid succession. At length Keighley’s persistency was rewarded, for
Caine, getting hold from a scrummage in the Holbeck goal mouth, dropped a pretty goal. On the re-start
mis-fielding gave Holbeck a footing near the Keighley line and Kelly tried to equalise by dropping at goal,
but without success. The home backs, again using the touchline with certainty and regularity brought the
game back into the Holbeck quarter, but could not manage to cross. Then the visitors were penalised, and
Myers placed the ball for a shot at goal and his attempt was successful.


There was no further incident ofnote up to half time, with the exception of a fine burst by Kelly. The teams crossed over with Keighley
leading by two goals to nothing. In the second half the Keighley men again took up the running, but their
chances at first went all wrong and nothing resulted, the defence of the visitors again being effective. At
length Caine tried and failed with another drop at goal and Leornard ran the ball out in preference to
saving. Walker replied to this effort with a well judged kick and from the ensuing scrummage Caine passed
out to Myers and he to Sharpe and the latter cleverly engineered an opening for his wing man, Arthur
Pearson, to run over, Myers, took the kick at goal and made no mistake about it. After the restart the
Holbeck forwards replied with a rattling dribble half the length of the field, and Duxbury still further
improved matters with a good run, but the effort was not sustained, and the home players were almost
immediately back into the holbeck quarters. Here Snowden, the visiting full back, sprained his right ankle
in kicking dead, and had to be taken off the field. Afterwards Keighley scored again, Myers starting the
movement with a strong burst from the scrummage, his pass went to Sharpe, and the latter again judged the
situation to a nicety, and when he did pass on to Pearson the wing man had practically a clear course.
Myers missed the shot at goal.

There was no further scoring and the game ended with the score
Keighley :- Three goals, two tries – 12 Points
Holbeck :- Nil


After the match, Marriners Band escorted the Keighley team from the field to the Headquarters (The
Wellington Hotel) by way of Lawkholme Lane, North Street and Low Street, playing “see the conquering
heroes comes” en route. The upmost enthusiasm was displayed, cheering being indulged in again and again
by the crowd. The demonstration almost equalled in vigour that which marked the return of the Keighley
team from Mytholmroyd in season 1896/7 after winning the Championship of the second competition.