The club was not long in making its name in the Northern Union, and in season
1902-03 they topped the second division with 27 wins out of 34 games.
This was the period when great service was being given by players like Bob Walker,
Harry Myers, Arthur Pearson, Charlie Caine, Hartley Tempest and others. And it led
up to 1906 – the season that that memorable tragedy overtook the club – the death
as a result of an accident on the field of play of Harry Myers.
Myers moved from Bramley to Keighley about 1895 and stayed with them until his
death on December 19th 1906. He played for England in a match against Ireland in
1898, his only international appearance. Altogether with Keighley, Myers scored 90
tries and kicked 178 goals.
In his last full season with the club Keighley had their greatest cup season up to that
time. They reached the semi-final of the Northern Union Cup for the first time
beating Castleford, Egremont, Hull and Featherstone before falling to Salford in the
semi-final game at Warrington.
An old newspaper clipping says that "dissatisfaction among the players with regard
to terms of payment was the reason for this defeat, and but for this very
discreditable piece of business Keighley would have opposed Bradford in the final".
Up to that time Keighley had never had a brighter chance of winning the cup, and it
is on record that to Harry Myers the turn of events was a very bitter blow.
The team which played in that semi-final was: Walker; Stacey, Hardwick, Hardacre,
Jagger; Myers, Bateson; Bradley, Fearnley, Bairstow, Tempest, Pickles,
McNicholas, Blades and Hopkinson.
Walker was the big kicker of the side. He could find touch half the length of the field
and he was a powerful tackler. He could kick goals too – in 1906-07 he landed 80
and scored three tries to set up a club points scoring record which stood for more
than 20 years.
About that time Keighley were one of the leading teams in the Northern Union Cup
competition, and again in 1907-08 they advanced to the third round by virtue of wins
over Brookland Rovers and Whitehaven.
During the years of the First World War the club arranged no fixtures. When football
returned to normal there was a hectic period of team rebuilding, and following a
really bad season in 1921, six new players were signed from the Furness district.
They were Charlie Thompson, Charlie Spedding, Joe Waite, Bill White, Gilbert
Rollson and Richard Kendall.
Dick Kendall was the pick of the bunch. He proved an invaluable servant to the club
over a period spanning eleven seasons. He kicked 185 goals and scored 55 tries – a
total of 535 points. But he was also perhaps one of the unluckiest of players, for
during that spell he broke his left collar-bone twice; fractured his right collar-bone
once; fractured his left fore-arm; broke bones in his right hand, and suffered a
variety of finger injuries. After retiring as a player Dick Kendall took up refereeing
until season 1953-54.