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Donny Saint

winter watch 1963

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The mention of Swinton overtaking Widnes that season and becoming Div 1 champions and then repeating it the next season playing in their huge Station Road stadium before a 6,000 average crowd also brings back memories.

I remember a third test against the Aussies played at their ground when braziers were used and the game was played even though it was really still frozen. I think that was in November. It should have been in GB favour with weatherf like that. Don't believe it, Australia skated to a 5 tries to one victory.

I apologise in advance for creating thread drift.

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This season was the forerunner of summer rugby, Wigan played 7 league games after the Challenge Cup final on 11 May.

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The only thing I remember is having (yes having, we never even thought there might be a choice ;) ) to walk three and half miles to school. A lot of teachers didn't make it so we had to stay with our form teacher for the duration.

I remember he unblocked the fireplace (it was Victorian) and we had a coal fire as the boilers couldn't keep up.

At least the school day was short - we got there about 11.00 and left at 2.30 for nearly two weeks but I didn't get to Headingley much that winter.

Interesting that Cliff Michelmore mentioned Rugby on the Big Freeze programme. I guess the Beeb showed a match a week in those days and they must have been desperately short of sport of all kinds to show.

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Leeds RL went well over two months without a home game ,then it was two a week for ages when the thaw came.It was that that led Leeds to get undersoil heating installed

I recall one season where due to cricket, Yorkshire Cup games etc when Leeds only had one home league fixture between August and December

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Bury had travelled to Sunderland on Boxing Day, 1962. The weather that day was horrendous with the promotion clash in doubt. Play did commence only to see Brian Clough suffer an injury that effectively ended his amazing career. The Pools Panel was called into action for the first time at the end of January 1963, when most of the football fixtures were postponed.

I do remember Huddersfield players enjoying snowballing with Saints fans.

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Was that the year that Widnes were the only team playing regularly because they used chemicals forn the ICI factory in the town to melt the frost and they built up a big lead at the top of the league because they were the only team playing. As I remember it ruined the pitch at trhe ground in the process.

It may have been another year but it was a big big long freeze.

I went to that Castleford/leeds cup tie and the brazier thing is true. It was bitterly cold but the crowd was huge, well over 10,000 if I remember. Every junkie in Yorkshire who needed his RL fix was there.

The way I remember it was...yes chemicals were used on Naughton Park to get shut of the ice and it also succeeded in getting rid of just about everything else as well... it turned into a sludge pit and only one match(a CC game featuring amateurs Moldgreen ??? and Widnes) was played,I think the whole pitch had to be relaid. I'm amazed the players didnt suffer toxic poisoning.!!

I say "the way I remember it" as I would welcome other accounts of this as my memory may be playing tricks on me :huh:

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In the 62/63 winter I was 8 and we walked to school down walkways cut into the streets (very few people had cars in my village). The snow bankings along most of the walkways were higher than me.

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I remember that Winter very well, I was thirteen, but strangely can't remember much about RL that season. I'd guess that's because Northern were approaching the end of their terminal decline and I'd just about lost interest.

Living in West Bowling I had a half mile walk across Emsley's Rec to catch the bus to school, and I honestly can't remember school ever being closed. The kids loved it, slides and snowball fights etc. No doubt that's all been banned by the H & S fascists now.

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The way I remember it was...yes chemicals were used on Naughton Park to get shut of the ice and it also succeeded in getting rid of just about everything else as well... it turned into a sludge pit and only one match(a CC game featuring amateurs Moldgreen ??? and Widnes) was played,I think the whole pitch had to be relaid. I'm amazed the players didnt suffer toxic poisoning.!!

I say "the way I remember it" as I would welcome other accounts of this as my memory may be playing tricks on me :huh:

Alan I definitely attended a game at Naughton Park that year between two amateur sides in the Challenge Cup, I think the other one was a Barrow side, Roose or something like that. After Widnes got that first fixture played the RFL wanted them to use Lowerhouse Lane to get the fixture back log down.

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Brilliant thread this. Keep them coming please.

I remember we(The Wire) played our first game after the big freeze with a home cup tie against Doncaster.

The local paper advertised for schoolboys to turn up at 8.00am on the Saturday morning to stoke the Braziers and also place pokers in them until red hot and glowing and then find a hard patch of ice to drive in the poker(no health & safety jobsworths in those days :D )

The reward for all this work was that IF the game was played we could stay and watch it for free !!!

The game was passed as playable and a very sooty 12 year old was chuffed to have played his part .

But as it was only 1.30pm I nipped out to buy a programme and on returning walked towards the open gate only to be stopped by some gateman who told me to go and pay through the turnstiles just like everybody else,despite my explanation and pleas to just go back in for free I was ushered to the boys turnstile and had to pay my 9d to get in I was gutted :(

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just been watching a programme r.e. title.[Chris Packham].It was quite a long film it was in black & white.The BBC commentators of that day mentioned there was a complete white out of all sport RL was mentioned being the fact that only one match was played in1963 it showed the ground involved,but did not recognise it, been thro all my records 1963 seems to be missing which is par for the course :lol: .Does anyone know of that match or find out while there is no games on yet. :lol:.Thank you.I am of that era.Roll on the season.

Can you tell me the full title of the programme and when it was transmitted.

I would love to see it and hopefully it will still be avaliable on BBC i player.

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Can you tell me the full title of the programme and when it was transmitted.

I would love to see it and hopefully it will still be avaliable on BBC i player.

It's the thread heading - Winterwatch 1963.

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It's the thread heading - Winterwatch 1963.

Cheers

have downloaded it from iplayer and now have 30 days to watch it... :)

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rochdale hornets tried it a couple of years ago

103456-1922008--f4-5943_large.jpg

I remember that match - I seem to recall that Braziers won :rolleyes:

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I remember that match - I seem to recall that Braziers won :rolleyes:

It was their superior mobility and handling... ;)

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..........and had to pay my 9p to get in I was gutted :(

9p ???? :mellow: I very much doubt it ......... :lol:

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It was their superior mobility and handling... ;)

They were on a streak where their form was red hot. Their winger scorched down the touchline. They played great balls of fire over the tannoy.

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Not 1963, but the late 1970's. A rugby game at St Georges' Playing Fields in Bradford. At 1pm a pitch inspection showed the pitch to be under two inches of snow but soft. We rang the opposition and they wanted to play, so we cleared the markings. Kicked off at 2.30pm in what seemed like a heatwave. The snow had melted by fulltime and all the players were sweltering.

I've never experienced weather like it before or since.

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Not 1963, but the late 1970's. A rugby game at St Georges' Playing Fields in Bradford. At 1pm a pitch inspection showed the pitch to be under two inches of snow but soft. We rang the opposition and they wanted to play, so we cleared the markings. Kicked off at 2.30pm in what seemed like a heatwave. The snow had melted by fulltime and all the players were sweltering.

I've never experienced weather like it before or since.

I went to St Georges and that may have been 1979. That was a very bad winter too. Very deep snow that was around for months.

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Not 1963, but the late 1970's. A rugby game at St Georges' Playing Fields in Bradford. At 1pm a pitch inspection showed the pitch to be under two inches of snow but soft. We rang the opposition and they wanted to play, so we cleared the markings. Kicked off at 2.30pm in what seemed like a heatwave. The snow had melted by fulltime and all the players were sweltering.

I've never experienced weather like it before or since.

That's Bradford for you; it's always had it's own micro-climate! ;)

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9p ???? :mellow: I very much doubt it ......... :lol:

Nine "old" pence was the price in 1963 for under 15's.

My Dad always gave me a shilling to go to the match 9d to get in and 3d for my programme.

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The brazier effect was very common throughout R/L in those times especially at Leigh it was. I can recall a photo in the 'Leigh Journal' that depicted a pinch-bar of some substantial size, being driven into the pitch to show the depth of frost in the ground this after the braziers had failed. The bar wnet in about some 6 to 9 inches before it bent and would not penetrate further!!

Makes you wader what the hysteria brigade that write the papers and give out the news would make of such a winter today if one like it occurred?

I was an apprentice at that time and we had to turn up fpr work regardless, but the tradesmen were laid off in some cases for up to fourteen weeks, and any benifits for hardship, out of work items included, could then not be claimed unless someone had been out of work for 6 weeks or more, a lot of building tradesmen were pretty hard-up come the end of such a period then.

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Nine "old" pence was the price in 1963 for under 15's.

My Dad always gave me a shilling to go to the match 9d to get in and 3d for my programme.

Ah yes. They didn't invent new pence until 1971.

And then we had to suffer the expression "one pee" or, worse still, "one pence" :angry:

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