Lawkholmers to Cougars - A Rugby League History


It was in April, 1885 that the club agreed to amalgamate with the Keighley Cricket
and Football Club, and from that time the club has played on the Lawkholme Lane
ground, though only under the wing of the Cricket and Football Club for a year or
two after amalgamation. The move was a good one, for had the club remained at
Dalton Lane they would have had to lay out a large sum of money if they hadwished to compete with the club which the Cricket and Football Club contemplated
The effect of the amalgamation was soon made clear. Within a very short time the
membership rose to 300 and dressing rooms and headquarters were established at
the Black Horse Hotel. The first game at Lawkholme took place on October 10th
1885, against Liversidge. Keighley's team that day was T. Haigh (back); R. H.
Taylor, F. Foulds and W. Clough (three-quarters); W. Smith and R. Walker (half-
backs); W. Yiend (capt), J. F. Laycock, A. Mitchell, J. Woodrow, E. Steel, E.
Gledhill, T. Mitchell, J. Wilson and E. Horner.
There are several names here, which will forever be engraved in Keighley's football
history. Mr. Woodrow afterwards succeeded to the presidency; Will Yiend known to
friend and foe alike as "Pusher Yiend" – developed into an international.
Considerable expense was entailed in preparing, laying out, and equipping the
Lawkholme ground. The club's fixture list was improved and in 1886-87 such clubs
as Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, Bramley, Otley, York, Shipley, Ossett, Bingley,
Pudsey, Halifax Free Wanderers, Morley, Skipton and Hunsiet were met.
The club reached one of its best seasons in 1892-93 when, thanks to such men as
Dave Bestow, A. Best, Abe Naylor, Bob Crossley, John Howles, Bob Jennison and
Tom McDonnell, the team figured in several rounds of the cup and won no less that
22 matches during the season. Leagues were springing into being about this time
and in 1893-94 Keighley had a try at the Intermediate Competition and finished sixth
with a record of eleven wins and eleven defeats.
The following season the club did badly and finished tenth, but in 1895-96, despite
the loss of "Sandy" Bairstow, the side came into its own again and finished fourth.
The sweet taste of success came Keighley's way in 1896-97 when they won the
Second Competition championship. The final match of the competition took place at
Mytholmroyd on April 3rd 1897, and despite a bitterly cold day there was a gate of
2,000 of which over half had traveled from Keighley. Keighley won by six points to
three and at the sound of the final whistle where was great rejoicing among the
Keighley supporters. Hats and handkerchiefs were thrown into the air and there was
sustained cheering.
And when the team arrived back in Keighley there was a great reception awaiting
them. The streets were packed, and as the players rode to their headquarters at the
Black Horse via Cavendish Street, North Street and Changegate, they were
preceded by Marriner's Band playing "See the conquering hero comes".
A meeting was held at the hotel and there were speeches by Mr. Wilson Roper
(president) and by Harry Myers, the Keighley captain. April 3rd 1897, was certainly
a great day for Keighley, and it heralded a splendid run of success which saw them
win the First Competition championship in 1899-1900 after having been runners-up
in the two preceding years.