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Gerry Unsworth gone but not forgotten

Anita Bath

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For those with memories of 1950s and 60s Rochdale Hornets legendary winger Gerry Unsworth has passed away age 86.

Played 11 seasons for hornets, a one club man scoring 83 tries for the club.

Scored on his debut against 1955 kiwi tourists and again in his penultimate game v Wigan at Central Park…always saved his best for the bigger games. Would have made the team on far stronger clubs than Hornets but never strayed from Athletic Grounds.


condolences to his family and friends.

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@Anita Bath

More bad news I'm afraid. Norman Short, another great stalwart from the 1950s and 60s, has passed away. My condolences to family and friends of both Gerry and Norman . I have fond memories of watching them play at The Athletic Ground.

I found this on  https://www.facebook.com/pg/Rochdale-Hornets-RLFC-1958-64-2052903584996623/posts/  I think it was written by the son of another great Hornets player from that era Jim Parr.

"I don't mind admitting that I shed a few tears this morning on hearing that Norman Short passed away in the early hours of yesterday morning. He was 89.
Deservedly voted in the Heroes of Hornets X111 several years ago, Norman was another of Hornets Leigh born one club men of that era.
He played for the club from 1952 until 1965 amassing 331 appearances and scoring 79 tries, had a benefit season in 1963 and his Heritage number is 603
Norman was described as a fast, classy centre with an eye for the try line and was a good tackler too. He made his debut on 21/12/52 in the 2-2 home draw against Widnes with Shorty kicking the Hornets goal. His final game in Rochdale colours was away at Huddersfield on April 20th 1965 in a 34-10 'Bottom 14' play off defeat.
On a personal note Norman was a lovely, lovely guy who helped us carry dads coffin at his funeral. I always looked forward to seeing him at the Hornets ex-players functions when he would always greet me with a handshake and a hug, which meant so much to me. He will be greatly missed by all and my thoughts are with Dorothy and all their family at this very sad time"
"Onward Hornets Onward"

Also this was on the Oldham web site which I thought was a nice touch.

"Similar expressions of sympathy and condolence go from all at Roughyeds to the Crown Oil Arena where Rochdale Hornets are mourning the passing of two players, Norman Short and Gerry Unsworth, with whom Oldham players have had many a contest on the field in years gone by.

Both players signed for Hornets from the Leigh area as young lads and played their entire professional careers at the old Athletic Grounds.

Gerry, a winger, scored 82 tries in 236 appearances in the 1950s and 60s. He was 86.

Norman, who had many a battle with our very own Alan Davies, a fellow Leigh lad, was an accomplished centre who scored 79 tries in 331 games over 13 seasons between 1952 and 1965.

A few years ago, Hornets fans voted him into the club’s best-ever 13. He died, aged 89."

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