Jean Horne; 1947, my first match

In 1947 my dear Dad, recently demobbed from the Army, took me along to my first match at Fartown. I would be ten years old, knew nothing about rugby league, but some recently signed Australians were hitting the headlines and Dad thought we’d go along. I was into rugby league from the start. The excitement, sheer strength and skill of the players – I was hooked, and at the age of 75 rugby league still remains a huge part of my life.

One of my biggest disappointments was not attending the Challenge Cup Final in 1953 at Wembley, again because we couldn’t afford to go, but I remember being glued to the radio commentary, and then going into Huddersfield to welcome the team home on the Monday night.

My favourite players were Lionel Cooper and Billy Banks. In fact I always said if I ever had a baby girl when I married I would call her Lorraine after Lionel Cooper’s daughter. I kept my promise and named my daughter born in 1963 – Lorraine.

As I grew into a teenager and then wage earner I went to away games on Wards Coaches from Lepton, donned in my claret and gold scarf with the players’ names hand embroidered, knitted and embroidered by myself (no club shops in those days).

I recall in the 1950s as I waited in Lepton for the bus from Wakefield to take me to Huddersfield Tommy Smailes and Brian Briggs would be sitting on the front seat of the upper deck. They were travelling from Featherstone and Wakefield to play at Fartown – not many players owned their own car back then.

I missed out on Wembley in 1962 because I was pregnant, but I vividly remember the exciting game against Wakefield at Odsal to win the Championship the following week.

I always remind my daughter that she was there for that great game, and yes, she has learned to love our great game.

Jean Horne


This memory was recorded as part of the Huddersfield Rugby League Heritage project www.huddersfieldrlheritage.co.uk.

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Memory added on February 19, 2013

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