Celebrating Student Rugby League’s half-century!

THERE were celebrations in Liverpool last week when the 50th anniversary of the first official university Rugby League game, played between Liverpool and Leeds on 15 March 1968 was celebrated in style.

A Gala Dinner took place in Liverpool city centre, attended by players past and present.

Liverpool founder John Priestley said: “Our Chemistry Department played Leeds in an annual rugby union game but we had several players who played Rugby League on a regular basis.

“I knew that Leeds had started a Rugby League team so I made contact with Andrew (Cudbertson), who just showed me my original hand written letter which he has kept for all these years.

“I approached the Athletic Union for support and they told me that the first thing I needed to do was prove that I had enough interested players. I posted a sheet of A4 on the notice board and watched it fill up over a few days to the point where we clearly had the interest.

“We approached Mick Naughton to referee the original game and we got more than we bargained for, he arranged the pitch, the referee and even coached us.

“We never thought that our idea to play a game of Rugby League would progress to what we see today but I am glad that it did.”