On this Day – 11.05

Category: Heritage

On this Day – 11.05

On this day ….. 11 May


Thirty-five years ago today, on 11 May 1985, in their second successive Premiership final, Rovers were beaten 36-16 by St Helens at Elland Road. The Elland Road ground was proving to be a bogey ground for the Robins, as it was their third defeat in three visits. It was also Rovers 46th and last game in a long, hard season.

Saints were up for revenge after Rovers had knocked them out of the Challenge Cup on their own ground three months before, and were boosted by the absence from Rovers’ ranks of Gavin Miller, who had made such an impact in his debut season.

The first half was fairly even, but after the sides exchanged early scores through Gary Ainsworth and George Fairbairn, Saints built up a 12-point lead. Rovers fought back through Ian Robinson and David Laws, but a Meninga interception try, sandwiched between the two, enabled Saints to lead 22-14 at the break.

With the next try vital, Rovers pounded the Saints defence in the early stages of the second half; but the crucial score went to Saints, when Meninga latched onto another loose pass and stormed 75 yards, just holding off Fairbairn for the try. Pinner and Ledger completed the job for Saints, who were just too fast and strong on the day.

The game marked the final appearance of David Hall, whose 383 games for the Robins makes him tenth in the club’s all-time list of appearances. A very talented player, Hall played at full-back, centre, off-half and loose-forward during his Rovers career. Many supporters felt that it was at loose-forward in the later part of his career that he was at his best. He possibly did not have the pace to be a top-class back, but at loose-forward he showed his footballing skills, his eye for a half-gap, and his ability to put a man into it. After making his debut at Bradford in April 1971, he scored 613 points for Rovers, with 166 goals and 89 tries, and he won two Great Britain caps. The highlight of his Rovers career was captaining the side that won the Premiership Final against Castleford in 1984.

Whilst the game was in progress, the tragic events were unfolding ten miles down the road at Valley Parade, that were to have huge consequences for many football and rugby clubs, not least Hull Kingston Rovers.

The Rovers team that day was – George Fairbairn; Garry Clark, Ian Robinson, Gary Prohm, David laws; Mike Smith, Gordon Smith (sub: Paul Harkin); Mark Broadhurst, David Watkinson, Asuquo Ema (sub: John Lydiat), Phil Hogan, Andy Kelly, David Hall.



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