Lawkholmers to Cougars - A Rugby League History

In the first round of the Challenge Cup competition Keighley disposed of Hunslet at
Parkside by 5 pts. to 2 pts. Lloyd was the try scorer and Herbert kicked the goal. At
home to Broughton Rangers in the second round Keighley gained an 11-5 success
with Parker, Lloyd and Dai Davies scoring the tries and Herbert landing a goal. A
visit to Liverpool Stanley in the third round brought a 7-2 success with Talbot
scoring a try and Sherburn adding two goals.
The semi-final at Leeds on April 3rd was a scoreless stalemate, but four days later
at Huddersfield, Keighley toppled Wakefield Trinity from the competition with a 5-3
win in which Bevan scored a try and Sherburn landed a penalty.
And so in their Diamond Jubilee season Keighley were at Wembley. Unhappily it
was not a fairy story ending, for Widnes ran out worthy winners by 18 points to 5
points, in a final which at the time was dubbed as "McCue's Match". Certainly the
little halfback played an important part in the defeat of Keighley. Keighley's points
came from a try by Lloyd and a goal by Sherburn.
For Keighley skipper Dai Morgan Davies, the defeat was particularly sad. In all the
Welsh scrum-half played in four Rugby League Challenge Cup finals – and each
time he was on the losing side. His other reversals were with Warrington in 1928
and 1933, and with Huddersfield in 1935. Davies was a skilled player and served
Keighley well despite being in his eleventh season as a professional when he joined
the club.
After the glory of Wembley, Keighley again suffered a decline. In November, 1938,
they were at the top of the Rugby League table for the first time ever for a spell of
three weeks, but their bid for honours was not maintained and at the end of the
season they were in 16th position with 17 wins, 17 defeats and two drawn games
giving them 36 league points.
The main reason for the club's decline at this time was that veterans in the side
were not replaced quickly enough, and the one youthful bright spark, they had –
Reggie Lloyd – was transferred to Castleford in 1938 and went on to win
International honours with Wales.
An indication of the number of players who left Keighley so soon after the 1937 cup
final is the fact that on January 22nd 1938 – just six months after their Wembley
appearance – Keighley met Widnes again in a league game. On that occasion there
were only six of the Wembley side remaining – Sherburn, Towill, Lloyd, Traill,
Halliday, Gill. Missing from the Wembley line-up were Herbert, Parker, Bevan,
Davies, Dixon, Jones and Talbot.

Of that Wembley team perhaps special mention should be made of Cyril Halliday.
He was the essence of consistency and from joining Keighley at the start of the
1935-36 season he played no less than 165 successive games for Keighley up to
February 11th 1939 when he missed a game against France.
In the season after Wembley – the last season of competitive peacetime football
before the 1939-45 war – Keighley were 13th in the league table: Played 40, won
21, lost 18, and drawn 1. They scored 361 points against 384 and had 43 league
points. After beating York (11-9) and Featherstone Rovers (10-0) in the first two
rounds of the Challenge Cup, they lost to Leeds 2-0 in the third round.