Hull RUFC History 1992 - 2014

In the spring of 1989 Hull and East Riding RUFC merged with Ionians RUFC to form Hull Ionians RUFC.  The new club took Riding’s league status in Division North One.  The 28% of the Riding membership who voted against the merger reformed the club as Hull & East Riding RUFC (1989), and were given membership of Yorkshire Division Six, the bottom tier of Yorkshire county rugby union.  Just before season 1989-90 began Mr. Peter Lovell MBE, the new Riding President, was interviewed by the Hull Daily Mail and he expressed the wish that in the fullness of time Riding, or their successors, would regain their status in North One and hopefully progress into the National leagues.

Hull RUFC were formed on July 1st 1992 as a result of a merger between Old Hymerians RUFC and Hull & East Riding RUFC (1989).  Old Hymerians were formed in 1925 while the Riding could trace their origins to 1901.  The new club took over the tenancy of the Old Hymerians ground at Haworth Park and also their league status in North-East Division Two.  The colours of the new club were to be red, black and gold, and the first club captain was Zimbabwean international fly-half David Walters. The first coach was former England international prop Paul Huntsman.  The club was to run 6 senior sides, 2 veteran sides and an Under-21 side.

Hull had very successful first season and finished third in the table behind Doncaster and Driffield.  Hull’s very first game at Haworth Park resulted in a 51-12 victory over Hemsworth in a non-league game with the first try for the new club being scored by Mal Cressey.  The first league game was at home to the eventual champions Doncaster who were defeated 8-6.  Hull went into the final league game of the season at Driffield needing two points while Driffield needed only one.  A 6-6 draw saw Driffield take second place.  Doncaster made rapid progress into National League rugby and Driffield eventually rose to play in North One. The side won 9 and drew 1 of their 12 league games and in all games won 22 and drew 2 of the 33 played.  Highlights of the season was the defeat of Doncaster and good league wins over Ashington, Bishop Auckland and  Acklam.  The leading try-scorer for the season was Richard Oliver with 15 and the leading goal-kicker and points scorer was Andy Woods whose 7 tries and 71 goals totalled 206 points. 

The 1993-94 season was a big disappointment as Hull slumped to eighth position after a poor campaign. Paul Huntsman had resigned for business reason and was replaced by Jim Henderson. New players joined the club including David Prescott from Hornsea RUFC and a big signing was Kiwi lock Darren Sapich, the first of a long line of overseas players to be signed by Hull. Only six of the 12 league games were won but in all games the position was better with 18 wins and 1 draw from the 33 played.  Important results were league wins over Bramley, Whitby and Westoe.  Prominent among new signings were scrum-half Vanston Cook from Driffield RUFC and Welsh full-back Brent Jones.  Darren Sapich was the leading try-scorer with 9 and topping the points list was Paul Cook with 5 tries and 33 goals for 112 points.

The 1994-95 season saw an improvement in Hull’s form when they finished fifth in the league table, winning 7 and drawing 1 of their 12 games. Overall they won 18 and drew 2 of their 33 games. Two very good players in centre Mark Roberts and flanker Richard Foreman joined in the latter part of the season.  Good league wins were recorded over Blyth, North Ribblesdale and Novocastrians.  A 9-9 home draw against the powerful Darlington Mowden Park was the highlight of the season. Mal Cressey was the leading try-scorer with 13 while David Prescott, with his7 tries and 74 goals was to set a new club.  The club had lost 1 of its veteran sides but had gained a Ladies XV.

Alan Hunter took over as Coach for the 1995-96 season which was a very poor one with Hull finishing eighth in a league of thirteen, only to be victims of a nationwide RFU reorganisation of the league structure which saw them relocated to the newly-formed North-East Division Three.  Hull won 5 of their 12 league games and overall they won just 7 and drew 1 of their 30 games.   Three players from local junior side Marist RUFC were recruited, centre John Oxley, fly-half Ian Vernon and flanker Simon Riseam.   Highlights of the season were league wins over Bramley, Ripon and Goole.  Mal Cressey was the leading try-scorer with just 8 touch-downs and David Prescott was the leading goal-kicker with 36 goals.  His 4 tries made him the leading points scorer with 113. Lock Phil Lea became the first player to player 100 games for the club, a distinction that was to be recorded as a Centenarian for all such future achievements

Alan Hunter left the club and was replaced for the 1996-97 season by former Kelso RUFC, Great Britain, Wigan and Hull KR rugby league full-back George Fairbairn.  Hull won 14 of their 18 league games in North-East Three to make a swift return and gain   promotion back to North-East Two as runners-up to champions Darlington.  Fairbairn dipped heavily into local amateur rugby league to sign Skirlaugh  ARLFC  three-quarters Rob Moulds and Steve Roberts, who had both played rugby union at school.  The club caused something of a local sensation when they obtained permission from Hull FC to sign winger Leroy Mckenzie for a four month period in the rugby league professional close season.  McKenzie had a fine pedigree in rugby union having played over 100 games for both Coventry and Moseley and had also been capped for the England Under-21 side.  Back-row forward Adam Atkinson, who was to make a name for himself with Hull in later years, joined from local junior club Hessle RUFC.  In all games Hull won 20 and drew 1 of their 27 games.  The highlights of the season was the 35-22 away win over champions Darlington and good wins over Whitby, Thornensians and Sunderland, a game that was played on Hull KR’s New Craven Park ground, the first time two union sides had played on a professional league ground in Hull.  The leading try-scorers were Rob Moulds and Peter Hazelton with 11 each and David Prescott topped the points scorers with 167 points from 2 tries and 64 goals for 167 points.  The club were now playing without a fourth team.

Season 1997-98 saw Hull finish fourth in the table, winning 11 and losing seven of their league games, and 20 of their total fixtures.  Leroy McKenzie was the leading try-scorer with 21 which was a new club record, and the leading goal-kicker and points scorer was David Prescott with 86 goals and 5 tries for total of 230 points.  Both of these were records which would stand until the 2008-09 season.  George Fairbairn again dipped into local junior rugby league when he signed former Hull KR and York off-half Colin Brown from Skirlaugh ARLFC.  Young scrum-half Darren Booth joined from Marist RUFC and Kiwi lock Tony Hart joined the club from Waikato RUFC having also played for Auckland B.
Centre Mark Roberts joined Wakefield RUFC and Adam Atkinson returned to his former club Hessle.  Highlights of the season were big league wins over Hartlepool Rovers and Roundhegians and doubles over Darlington and Westoe. 

A very average 1998-99 season saw Hull again finish fourth winning 9 and losing 9 of their league games and 17 wins and 13 defeats in all games. Rob Moulds and Colin Brwn returned to Skirlaugh ARLFC and Leroy Mckenzie signed for Wakefield RUFC.  Joining the club were prop John Rawson from the Waikato club in New Zealand, Martin Kirk, Sheffield and Yorkshire centre, No 8 Geoff Smart from Ripon RUFC and back-row Gavin Sharp who re-joined the club after 2 years out of the game.  Kiwi fly-half Warren Chamberlain  who had played in a friendly game whilst on holiday last season joined the club for a full season.  Mid-way through the season Hull signed former Hull KR and Halifac RLFC centre Rob Hutchinson.   League doubles over Hartlepool Rovers and Gateshead were prominent results and at the end of the season the club made its first overseas tour when 33 players and club members visited Raleigh in North Carolina, USA.  The club received the Civic Reception from the Mayor of the city during their visit and also played two games.  Raleigh began a sistership with Hull in October 1886 and Hull RUFC were believed to be the first sports club from the area to pay them a visit.  The club’s leading try-scorer was former Harrogate and Hull KR centre Julian Barkworth with 12 and David Prescott with 52 goals and 4 tries was the leading points scorer with 156. 

Season 1999-2000 was another poor one with Hull only winning 8 of their 18 league games and 15 from 32 overall.  Tony Hart and Warren Chamberlain had returned to New Zealand and had been replaced by Kiwi back-rowers Sean Botherway and Jay Cowley.
Although Hull beat Durham City away on the opening day of the league season they lost the next 3 and had only won 4 games by Christmas.  Five consecutive defeats in the second half of the season and 3 wins in their last 3 games saw them finish seventh in a division of 10 clubs and they were then re-located to an enlarged 12-team Yorkshire Division One  in yet another major RFU re-shuffle. This summed up a dismal season.
Four players shared the leading try-scorers list, all on 8 tries.  They were centres Andy and Julian Barkworth, back-row Sean Botherway and hooker Gareth Phillips.  Leading point scorer was David Prescott who scored 24 goals in the 11 games he played for 63 points.  George Fairbairn left the club at the end of the season for business reasons after 4 years as coach.

The 2000-2001 season will be remembered as the poorest so far and the one that saw us do ‘the great escape’, as the saying goes.  The club had lost their third team but a new Development team had been formed named ‘The Cubs’.  Leroy McKenzie had returned after a spell with both Wakefield RUFC and York RLFC and prop Dave Crow had joined  us from Hull Ionians.  Samoan international Maea David joined the club from Hull FC while Kiwi back-rower Chris Moore arrived to replace Sean Botherway who had suffered a bad knee injury last season and would be out of the game for a season. In the absence of an official coach Moore would also be acting-coach.  The season got off well with a good 22-21 win over North Ribblesdale followed by a 23-23 draw with Ripon.  The club then lost 7 consecutive games, a record that was to stand until 1996, and by Christmas they were bottom of the table having won just twice in 12 outings.  The strong possibility of dropping to Yorkshire Division Two threatened.  The second half of the season began with a rare 22-18 away victory at Huddersfield YMCA, no doubt boosted by the news that former Llanelli and Wales, British Lions, and Hull FC fly-half Gary Pearce was to join Hull as playing Director of Rugby for the game the following week (Jan 13 2001).  Pearce had been coach at Pocklington RUFC and he had brought former Hull centre Julian Barkworth and No 8 Jason Nicholson with him. He was to transform the playing fortunes of the club. The remainder of the season saw 4 games won and 1 drew from 10 and the club rose to ninth in the table avoiding relegation in the final match of the season at North Ribblesdale.  The leading try-scorer was Leroy McKenzie with 12 and Gary Pearce kicked 39 goals for a total of 96 points. David Prescott retired from playing rugby after playing in 150 games and scoring 1007 points, including 352 goals.  Both were still club records ten years later.

The following season, 2001-2002, was awaited with great anticipation. Eleven new players were brought in among them Rob Moulds and Adam Atkinson who returned to the club, Prop James Ward and lock Sammy Anderson from Pocklington were joined by Gareth Jackson from Bridlington.  A major signing was former Hull FC, Castleford RLFC and London Scottish utility player Brad Hepi, the latest in a long line of Kiwi players to join Hull.  The coaching team was also strengthened with former Wakefield and Rotherham hooker Terry Garnett coming in as forwards coach, and Ken Simpson, who had been in charge of the Canadian national Under-21 side as technical coach.  All of these people were to be mainstays of the club as they rose through the leagues in the coming seasons.  Season 2001-02 was the finest of Hull’s short history.  The club won 19 and drew 1 of their 22 league games and won the division by 9 clear points.  14 consecutive games were won and the side was unbeaten at home in all games played. Promotion was gained to Division Two North East.  The leading try-scorer was Leroy McKenzie with 17 tries.  Guy Martinson was the leading points scorer with 126 from just 14 games kicking 41 goals and scoring 5 tries. The club regained their Third senior side as the Veterans side folded and enough of them remained to form a third team of vets and youngsters.

Season 2002-03 saw Hull acquit themselves very well at the higher level and they won 15 league games to finish third in the table behind two exceptional sides in Bradford & Bingley and Sheffield.  The club progressed to the final 16 of the Powergen Intermediate Cup before losing to Cheshire side Lymm.  They also progressed to the semi-final of the Yorkshire Cup, losing to Doncaster after defeating Pontefract, Old Crossleyans and Hull Ionians.  This was the first time Hull had beaten Hull Ionians, who were always in a much higher league, and had in fact played in the National Three North during this season. New players to the club included veteran prop Rod Latham and No 8 Lee Denham who had both had spells with Wakefield and Rotherham. The leading try-score was again Leroy Mckenzie with 25 touchdowns which was a new club record and he was also the leading points scorer with 125 . Gary Pearce was the leading goal-kicker with 55 and his single try gave him 123 points.  The scene was set for another good season.

The club prepared well for the new season and new signings included centre Matt Donkin, fly-half Carl Paterson, lock Richard Wilson from Cleckheaton and utility Kiwi rugby league player Peter Edwards .  Brothers Steve and Kevin Bates joined from Hull Ionians and would prove valuable additions to the forward strength.  Season 2003-04 saw Hull RUFC in awesome form as they swept aside the opposition to win their opening twenty-one league games, ensuring the league title with a 26-20 victory at West Hartlepool on March 6th, with three games still to play.  A 23-22 defeat at Stockton in the final kick of the final league game of the season denied the club a 100% record but they won the league by eight clear points over Middlesbrough with a 773-245 playing record.  Nine existing club records were broken in this highly successful season.  Leroy McKenzie was the leading try-scorer for the fourth consecutive season with 24 tries and had now passed the 100 mark with 119, the first Hull player to achieve this target, Guy Martinson scored 20 tries.  Carl Paterson was the leading points scorer with 217 comprising 75 goals and 10 tries, while Guy Martinson kicked 24 goals to add to his 20 tries for a points total of 154. In all games the side scored 140 tries, 108 goals for a total of 939 points.  Hull again progressed to the semi-final of the Yorkshire Cup only to lose to National Three side Halifax by 17-7, giving their higher-rated opponents a real fright before losing the game.  They defeated Bridlington, Huddersfield YMCA and Redcar on their way to the semi-final.  The club entered the world of summer amateur rugby league with the formation of Hull Phoenix ARLFC.  The team was to have its own training and selection committees and was totally separate from the rugby union side although part of the club.  The side was to play for just two seasons.

Hull RUFC took their well-earned place in Division North One for season 2004-05 following two promotions in three seasons.  The club again needed to adjust to the higher level of rugby but were confident they could succeed in their new division.  By a quirk of coincidence one of the sides relegated from North One after season 2003-04 were Driffield, much to the regret of Hull who would have enjoyed playing league rugby against them once more after a gap of eleven seasons.  However, Hull looked forward to taking on local rivals Hull Ionians, whom they have never played league matches against.Kiwi back-rower Sean Higginson from Waikto kept up Hull’s strong links with that club and winger Danny Smith was recruited from Hull Ionians. Ex-Doncaster prop Andy Fish joined Hull from Scunthorpe and former Leeds Tykes scrum-half Chris Kendra also  came in.  At the beginning of the campaign Hull’s two main concerns were whether the side was good enough to compete at the higher level, and if so, that a season of consolidation with a final position of halfway up the league table would be a good performance.  Both of these objectives were surpassed.  The side won sixteen of its twenty-two games including six doubles, scoring 625 points while conceding 334, having beaten every side in the division with the exception of champions Preston Grasshoppers. After winning their opening seven games Hull had put any possible relegation fears behind them but they lost their unbeaten record to Hull Ionians who recorded a 24-15 win at Haworth Park in the first ever league game between the two clubs.  Hull got their revenge with a 12-10 win at Brantingham Park four weeks later to regain top spot in the table and the new boys were being talked of as promotion contenders.  The three way battle between Hull, Hull Ionians and Preston went to the final day of the season with the club finally finishing in third position, two points behind their local rivals and six points behind Preston.  They were never outside of the top three in the table and three of the six games they lost were by less than five points.  The two games against Preston showed how close Hull were to winning promotion.  In probably the best game seen at Haworth Park in the whole season Preston won an enthralling match by 34-32, despite Hull scoring five tries to four.  The return game at Preston was equally tense without the same quality of rugby with Preston winning 18-13. The club profited financially from a good run in the early stages of the Powergen Intermediate Cup.  After beating North Two East side Morpeth away by 40-17 in the qualifying round they had a massive 79-8 home win over West Hartlepool, also of North Two East, in the preliminary round, a club record for a cup game.  The first round brought National League Three North side Tynedale to Haworth Park where Hull gave an outstanding display to win 26-20.  The side had to travel to National League Three North club Cleckheaton in round two where another great display saw them push Cleck all the way before going down 16-15.  In the Yorkshire Cup a first round win at Bridlington by 18-9 gave Hull a plum second round home game against National Two side Doncaster and again the team competed very well before losing 20-10.   Danny Smith was the leading try-scorer with 17 tries and Carl Paterson was again the leading points scorer with 74 goals and four tries for his 207 points.  The club was now down to just two sides but it was not just a local problem as clubs throughout England were suffering in the same manner.   

Hull RUFC viewed season 2005-06 with great confidence.  They knew that they were good enough to put in a repeat performance in North One but realised that this season there would be no newly relegated sides in the division.  Westoe, Caldy, and Huddersfield all came into the division as promoted clubs while Whitchurch and Longton were relocated from Midlands One for geographical reasons.  It promised to be a tough and highly competitive season.  Hull had three South Africans among the new signings in No 8 Warren du Plooy, scrum-half Chris de Meyer and prop Patrick Mulumba.   The high hopes for the new season were soon dashed when the club lost their first four opening league games, beginning with a 50-7 defeat at Morley.  The first team were without thirteen players for the opening game after eleven had suffered pre-season injuries.  Things steadily improved after that and the next three games were lost only by a margin of eight points or less, with the side moving from bottom of the table to ninth position without even winning a game.  But with Hull now back at full strength and further strengthened by the signing of Kiwi fly-half Waylon Tangohau the next four league games were won.  The club had now moved up to sixth position, a status they were to hold for the remainder of the season.  In the meantime good progress had been made in the Powergen Intermediate Cup with away wins at Yorkshire One sides Goole and Bradford Salem by 20-0 and 39-19 respectively. The third round saw Hull beat fellow North One side Middlesbrough by 42-10 before being drawn away to Midlands One runaway leaders Rugby.  In a titanic struggle Hull fought back from a 16-5 deficit to win a thrilling game, defeating the highly fancied home side by 23-19.  Their reward for this was another away draw in round five against North One leaders and cup holders Morley who once again proved far too strong and won the game by 35-12.  Once again the cup run had been very lucrative.   Further league wins over Caldy, Whitchurch and Chester followed before Hull then lost three games in a row.  Gary Pearce resigned after five very successful years in charge and the team gave former forwards coach and new boss Terry Garnett the best possible start with a sensational 19-15 victory over champions-elect Morley.  Morley came to Haworth Park needing a win to take the North One title but it was to be third time lucky for Hull as they got rid of their hoodoo to make the ‘Maroons’ wait another two weeks before claiming the title.  Further wins over Birkenhead by 55-7 and an end of season 64-40 try-fest against Huddersfield saw the club end the season in sixth position with eleven wins and eleven defeats. The club progressed to the Yorkshire Cup semi-finals for the third time in four seasons with wins at Old Crossleyans and Sheffield Tigers plus a walkover at home to Redcar.  The home semi-final against a very talented Leeds Tykes development XV was lost by 33-19 after Hull had led 7-5 at the break.  The superior fitness and expertise of the young professionals finally won the game for Leeds who went on the defeat Wharfedale in the final.  After losing in the final of the previous season’s Pocklington Sevens the club won the W.S. Fowler Challenge Trophy for the first time by defeating a Fijian-packed Duke of Wellington’s Regiment side by 19-12 in the final.  A new club record was created when winger Danny Smith scored 26 tries to beat Leroy McKenzie’s previous record of 25 which was achieved in the 2002-03 season.  Danny Smith also played for Yorkshire in the end of season County Championship games and subsequently joined National One side Otley. Waylon Tangahau scored 18 tries and with his 49 goals he was the club top points scorer with 198. Leroy Mckenzie became the first Hull player to play 200 games for the club.

Hull faced season 2006-07 in a very similar position to the previous one, a very severe player shortage but one of a permanent nature compared to last season.  Thirteen of the previous season’s squad, nine forwards and four backs, had left the club during the summer months.  Some went into retirement, some to extend their playing days with local junior clubs, and the remainder to join senior clubs, or in the case of the overseas players, simply returning home.  These players had collectively played 270 games for Hull in 2005-06, scoring a total of 54 tries, and a very good side had broken up.  New players had to be brought in quickly and it is much to the credit of Head Coach Terry Garnett and the club committee that seven overseas players were soon signed, some for the start of league rugby and some later on.  These included Kiwi back-rower Darren Wigg who was brought in to replace Sean Higginson and was to stay with the club for four years. The most capped Tongan player ever, fly-half Elisi Vunupola and fellow Tongan international prop Tevite (Tani) Hu’Unga were signed and young winger Alex Piercy was brought in from Driffield RUFC. The best news for the club was that former Leeds Tykes, Sale, Rotherham and Pau lock forward Chris Murphy had joined the club during the summer after taking up a job in the Hull area.  This was without doubt the most important signing in the history of Hull RUFC and the wheel had turned full circle as Chris had played for Hull as a junior while attending Hymers College, although he had played all of his senior rugby as a professional.  Hull began their third season in North One with a disappointing 33-18 home defeat against Huddersfield but they then beat newly promoted local rivals Beverley 25-12 also at home for their first league points.  An away defeat at Kendal was followed by four successive wins over New Brighton, Penrith, Stockport and Westoe.

Five wins from seven looked a very good start but this was set back by three consecutive defeats against Altrincham Kersal, Birkenhead and Caldy before a home win against Birkenhead Park just before Christmas steadied the ship a little. The New Year began badly with defeats against Altrincham Kersal and Westoe and although a 6-5 win at Stockport helped things the club were now on the fringes of a relegation battle.  Two home defeats against Penrith and Stockport (the original home game of October 14 being replayed due to an appeal by Stockport against uncontested scrums) made matters more serious.  An away win at New Brighton was followed by defeats at Beverley and Huddersfield but home victories over Kendal by 55-8 and Chester by 43-19 moved Hull up to seventh in the table and their North One safety was assured.  The final league game at champions Caldy was lost 43-17 but Hull remained seventh and were never in the bottom three relegation places at any time during the season. The club had very little joy in the EDF Energy National Cup when they drew National League Three North side Fylde at home in round one.  Fylde showed their class to race into a 28-0 half-time lead but Hull came back well in the second half to score two tries for a final score of 28-13.  They had better luck in the Yorkshire Cup beating North Two East side Sheffield Tigers 34-3 at Haworth Park in the preliminary round followed by an 11-3 first round win over local rivals Hull Ionians in a dour (some may say dire!) game,  also at home.  An away game to Harrogate in round two saw the National League Two side dominate the first half but Hull got their measure in the second period before losing an entertaining game by 43-28.  In a season which was at times very frustrating the side were plagued by injuries with John Wilson missing all but three games and Dan Martinson missing ten, while Chris Murphy missed five games in the vital mid-season matches.  The squad had to rely heavily on the Second XV players, some of them under twenty years of age, and it was a harsh learning curve to be thrown into level five rugby.  Full credit must be paid to all the players who battled so well to help Hull RUFC to retain their North One status.

The leading try-scorer was Movete Otoota with just 9 tries and the leading points scorer was Guy Martinson whose 6 tries and 34 goals gave him 113 points. In the final league game of the season at Caldy Leroy McKenzie played his final senior game for the club after appearing in 208 games and scoring 134 tries. He was club Captain in 2001-02 and in 2002-03.  Leroy was to carry on playing with the Second XV and became Chairman of the club in 2008-09.  He left a legacy of which he can be very proud of and which will be hard to surpass.  

Expectations for the season 2007-08 were very high.  During the summer Hull had made an important appointment when former England Under-19s and 21s coach Geoff Wappett  became Director of Rugby,  with last season’s  coaching team still in place. Wappett had also experience of coaching National league sides.  A big signing was Doncaster lock Dan Cook, along with centre Michael Woods from Newcastle Falcons.  Other signings were prop Matt Webber from Blackheath and centre Sam Newton from Bradford & Bingley.  Kiwi fly-half Cameron Gray joined the club in November.  Hull had their best season in North One winning 10 and drawing 1 of their 22 games to finish the season in fifth place. The sensational signing in February of rugby union and rugby league dual Tongan international, former Hull FC, Bradford Bulls, Saracens and Paris Racing Metro threequarter Tevita Vaikona rocked national rugby union circles. Tevita made his Hull debut at Birkenhead Park on March 1 2008, scoring one of six tries in Hull’s 38-8 win.  The playing season was one of inconsistency and Hull were in ninth position with six games to play but they won five of those games to finish in their highest-ever position in North One.  The leading try-scorer was Matt White with 12 tries and the leading goal-kicker and points-scorer was Cameron Gray with 6 tries and 35 goals. The final Hull RUFC game to be played at Haworth Park was on April 19 when Hull beat Westoe 27-25.  The following season would see Hull playing at their new home, the Ferens Ground on Chanterlands Avenue, and hopes of gaining National League status had never been higher.

Geoff Wappett had resigned at the end of the previous season as a result of his teaching commitments and Tevita Vaikona was appointed as Director of Rugby for the 2008-09 season.  Hull again had a strong Tongan influence with the signings of back-rowers Latu Makaafi and Sione Onesi, props Tevita (Taito) Molitera and Makoni Finau, and young international winger Mateo Malupo who signed for the period up to Christmas. No 8 Rob Devonshire and hooker Scott Plevey, both with much National league experience brought more strength to an already powerful looking pack.  What turned out to be a very important signing for the club was fly-half James Cameron, who had come through the Hull Ionians development sides before joining Hull.  The season began with a huge 64-7 win at West Park St. Helens with the young Cameron equalling the club record of 9 goals in a game.  Then came the opening match at the Ferens Ground where the visitors Westoe, who had been Hull’s last opponents at Haworth Park, were put to the sword in a tremendous display of attacking rugby from Hull who turned round a 14-8 interval lead into a 63-8 hammering of the South Shields side. Hull scored 10 tries with Mateo Malupo creating a new club record with 5 of them. The Westoe press officer Clive Crickmer described the match as ‘slaughter in the sunshine’.  A win at Darlington and another hammering of  Cleckheaton by 62-8 set the standard for the season.  

Hull went on to win 18 of their 22 league games to finish up as runners-up to Westoe, who, despite the shock that Hull had given them went the rest of the season with only 2 more defeats to become champions.   That only left the small matter of the play-off for the second promotion place between Hull and Midlands One runners-up Chester.  On a glorious day and before 400 spectators, Hull turned on the style and gave a superb team performance to win emphatically by 40-15.  After only five seasons Hull were to take their place in the newly-created National Two North.  Peter Lovell’s 1989 dream had come true and as Tevita Vaikona said after the game, “It is what we aspired to and now the hard work really begins”.  The leading try-scorer was Mateo Malupo with 16 tries from only 10 games with Latu Makaafi, Tevita Vaikona and Adrian Wadforth all on 11.  James Cameron broke both the goal-kicking and points scoring records, previously held by David Prescott, with 101 goals and 254 points, including 5 tries.  The club were now able to run a Third XV for the first time since 2002-03.

The only notable arrivals for the 2009-10 season were prop Kris Fullman, winger Rob Kitching, and flanker Neil Spence.  Fullman had a lot of National league experience as had Kitching with Otley and Spence with Bradford and Bingley, Rotherham and Harrogate.  Terry Garnett had resigned as head coach and was replaced as defensive coach by Hull FC forward Lee Radford. Fylde were Hull’s first National league opposition and Hull got off to fine start with a 31-25 win at the Ferens Ground after a thrilling game.  Next up was visit to Hull Ionians where the side stunned the Brantingham Park faithful with a fine display of open rugby, running in seven tries for a 48-31 victory.  Next at the Ferens were the powerful eventual champions Macclesfield, coached by former Hull D-O-R Geoff Wappett, who brought Hull firmly down to earth with a 44-19 defeat. This was followed by another heavy defeat by 35-3 at Rugby Lions.  Life at the higher level was beginning to prove to be very tough as what was to become a crippling injury list was starting to build up, made worse by two suspensions picked up in the last two games.  October was a bad month with all five games being lost and the club had thirteen of the squad on the injured list, with eight second teamers in the side at Harrogate. After going down at Kendal on November 7, the eighth successive defeat the side sneaked a 22-20 win at Broadstreet and even better, we were back at full strength.  Despite our dreadful run of results the sides below us had fared no better and there were still three teams below us in the table. The next seven league games were all won and we were now seventh in the table.  One of these games was the return match at the Ferens against Hull Ionians on a bitterly cold day in early January.  After totally dominating the Ionians pack we scored four tries to win 27-7 to post a notable double.  The side won 7 and drew one of their last four games, completing further doubles over Fylde, Bradford & Bingley, Broadstreet and Leicester Lions.  The final league position was fifth, a tremendous achievement for a newly-promoted side and the highest league placing ever achieved by an East Yorkshire club.  We won 17 and drew 1 of our 30 league games. Hull again got to the semi-final of the Yorkshire Cup for the fourth time, beating Driffield and Beverley before losing 26-7 at National One side Wharfedale. The club leading try-scorer was Rob Devonshire with 11 and the leading points scorer was James Cameron whose 69 goals and 2 tries gave him a total of 180 points.  Guy Martinson became the second double Centenarian. The club again had a Ladies XV.

Optimism was high for the 2010-11 season and the club had made six important signings during the close season.   Former Worcester Warriors and Leeds Carnegie lock Phil Murphy, brother of Chris Murphy joined from the Yorkshire  Premiership side and back-rower Ollie Cook, brother of Dan Cook, joined from French side USAP Avignon, having played for Sedgeley Park and Doncaster. Prop Adie Longbone and centre James Greene came in from Hull Ionians to join scrum-half Oliver Hardisty who came to Hull from, the same club late in the previous season. Back-rower Max Lewis was recruited from Harrogate and a trio of exciting young players from Bishop Burton College, back-row Ben Dorrington, centre Joe Martin and winger Will Robinson all were part of the Hull RUFC scholarship tie-up with the college. Dan Cook took over the position as Forwards Coach with Nick Gandy as skills Coach.  Hull began the campaign with a 29-22 win at Kendal followed by a 42-27 home win over Harrogate.  They came down to earth with a big bump when they lost 40-3 at Leicester Lions, a side who would do very well this season.  In early November the club entertained luckless Manchester who were in free-fall at the moment in what was to prove to be their third consecutive relegation. A score of 102-3 saw Hull run in 16 tries for a club record and another record went when James Cameron kicked 11 goals.

The local derby against Hull Ionians at the Ferens was the only league match played that day in what was to be a harsh winter.  The ground staff worked wonders to clear the pitch of eight inches of snow and 525 spectators braved the bitterly cold conditions to see Hull win by 30-15.  This was to be Hull’s last game for six weeks as the country suffered its worst winter for some years.   Hull were now in eighth position with seven wins from 13 games.  The side took revenge over Leicester Lions with a 17-9 home win and 9 more games were won and 2 drawn in the second half of the season.  One of the draws was away to Hull Ionians with 22-22 result.  April was a very demanding month as the team played five league games and two Yorkshire Cup games in 28 days, a fine effort from a semi-professional side.  Hull reached their first-ever Yorkshire Cup Final with wins over Morley, Beverley, and Cleckheaton before going down 25-18 in an epic final at York’s Clifton Park ground.  Over 1000 people witnessed a very tough and full-blooded match on very hard ground between Hull and Huddersfield, a side Hull had done the double over in league games during the season.  Huddersfield won T’owd Tin Pot’ for the first time since 1890.

The final playing record was 16 wins and 2 draws from the 30 games and the final league position was seventh.  The leading try-scorers were Alex Piercy and James Greene with 17 and Will Robinson with 16.  James Cameron was the leading goal-kicker with 90 goals and his 4 tries brought him a total of 230 points.  If he had not missed six games towards the end of the season through injury he would almost certainly have beaten his own points and goal-kicking record.   Greg Lound took over the kicking in Cameron’s absence and landed 20 goals, including an amazing run of 13 from 13 attempts.  James Ward became Hull’s third double Centenarian.

Dan Cook had taken up a teaching appointment at Giggleswick School and Hull appointed a new Head Coach for the 2011-12 season in John Widdowson, who had been coaching development sides at Nottingham Rugby and had also been involved with the Tongan national sides at that level.  Jim Wigglesworth and John Kirk, two exciting young backs, also came from the Nottingham club.  Other signings included Antony Maka, a back-row forward from Bishop Burton College, prop Will Dutton from Harrogate and No8 Alex Campbell a local police cadet.  The club kept up their strong links with local rugby league with the acquisition of Hull FC and former Bradford Bulls forward Lee Radford who was expected to play in the centre for Hull.

Hull began the start of their third season in National Two North with high hopes of improving on the seventh position of the previous season but after defeating Malton & Norton in the first round of the Yorkshire Cup they lost their opening four league matches.  However, such was the narrow margin of their defeats they managed to collect  four losing bonus points and one scoring bonus point in the process.  Hull got their first win at home to Harrogate the following week and by Christmas a further five wins and a draw saw the side in tenth position in the league table.

The signing of former Hull junior scrum-half Danny White on loan from Leeds Carnegie just after Christmas was to transform Hull’s season and their style of play as the scrum-half position had been a problem for some time.  A rampant Hull won eleven of their remaining thirteen league matches, including ten consecutive victories, which was the club’s best unbeaten run at this level.  The league season ended with a resounding 55-12 win at old rivals Westoe to finish the season with 94 points, level with Preston Grasshoppers, who had the better scoring difference, to finish fourth in the table, just one point behind second placed Caldy who Hull had beaten 44-10 on March 17th.  They were also the highest placed Yorkshire club in the division.

Meanwhile the club had made good progress in the Yorkshire Cup to ensure their second consecutive Final appearance where they were to face National One side Wharfedale at Clifton Park, York, on Wednesday Mat 9th.  Wharfedale had beaten cup-holders Huddersfield by 22-20 in their semi-final, just preventing a repeat of last year’s Hull v Huddersfield final.  In a match that was played in pouring rain throughout the game a large crowd witnessed an absorbing and tense battle which saw Hull leading 5-0 at the break and 12-0 early in the second period.  A converted try to the Dalesmen made it 12-7 before both sides exchanged penalties to make the score 15-10 before another try in the 72nd minute put Hull further ahead at 20-10.  The final eight minutes, plus four extra minutes of added time saw Hull under the most intense pressure but some resolute ‘Rorke’s Drift’ defending by Hull kept their line intact. The final whistle saw great scenes of jubilation as James Cameron lifted ‘T’Owd Tin Pot’ for Hull’s first Yorkshire Cup victory, and the general consensus from both clubs after the game, was that Hull had fully deserved their historic win.

The leading try-scorers for the season were James Wigglesworth with fifteen, Will Robinson with thirteen and Rob Devonshire with twelve.  James Cameron kicked ninety goals and scored 249 points.  Krys Fullman set up a new club record of 33 appearances and Phil Murphy and Max Lewis played in 32 games.  Fullman also created another club record with 38 consecutive appearances, which he was to extend to 44 the following season.
A unique occasion for the club was seen on April 24th when three players, James Cameron, Scott Plevey and Rob Devonshire all made their 100th appearance for Hull in the home match against Bromsgrove to bring the list of Centenarians to 23.

For the season 2012-13 Hull retained all of their most of their first team squad with the exception of hooker Scott Plevey, who had announced his retirement at the end of the previous season, and back-rower Max Lewis who returned to his former club Harrogate.  Two important signings were scrum-half Danny White, a former Hull junior player who had come on loan from Leeds Carnegie and who had now signed a full contract with Hull, and hooker Will Kay who joined the club from Harrogate.  Other signings included backs Ben Thoy, Jamie Barnard and Jamie Clark.  Senior Coach John Widdowson had been forced to give up the position due to ill-health and at very short notice Simon Middleton, the Bishop Burton College Director of Rugby, took over, assisted by former Hull players Maea David and Mark Lockton.

After last season’s high final league placing Hull RUFC faced the new season with great optimism but a dreadful opening start, when they lost their first five opening matches, gave the indication that the club faced a difficult season.  Bonus points earned in those five games ensured that the club were never in the bottom three of the table and as wins slowly came Hull hovered between ninth and twelfth position for most of the season.  It was only thanks to a late-season run of form when they won six of their last seven games, that the side showed any consistency to end the campaign in a very creditable seventh position.

Hull won thirteen of the twenty-nine games played and the twenty-two bonus points they earned along the way were to prove invaluable in the final tally of 74.  Injuries to established key players caused severe problems with skipper James Cameron only making ten appearances, while leading forwards Chris Murphy and Rob Devonshire only made fourteen and twelve respectively.  Conversely, scrum-half Danny White and prop Adie Longbone were ever-present in all twenty-nine matches.  Full credit must be shown to the several younger players who had to step up to the higher level during the season, with some becoming regular members of the team.  They all gave of their best and will have gained valuable experience which will no doubt serve them well in the future.

The side recorded some notable victories during the season with double wins over their Yorkshire rivals Otley and Sheffield Tigers particularly memorable.  A very good home win over high-flying Darlington Mowden Park raised Hull spirits at a dark time in their season and the amazing come-back from 22-0 down to a 40-27 win at Bromsgrove will long be remembered.  Doubles were also recorded over Westoe and Stockport.  The match against Luctonians on January 5 was a prominent one for prop Kyrs Fullman who became Hull’s twenty-fourth Centenarian.  In the 51-9 home win over Dudley Kingswinford James Cameron created a new goal-kicking record of 353 goals, beating David Prescott’s record which had stood for many years. 

Hull were denied the chance to defend the Yorkshire Cup, which they won  the previous season, when the Yorkshire RFU cancelled all Cup and Shield games for this season due to a back-log in league fixtures.  This was the first time the Yorkshire Cup had not been competed for, except for the years of both World Wars, and was a disturbing development in County rugby where so many competitions are being lost or down-graded.  

Full-back James Wigglesworth was again the leading try-scorer for Hull with eighteen touch-downs while young fly-half Greg Lound stepped into the shoes of the injured James Cameron with great aplomb to land 89 goals for a total of 223 points.  Hull are indeen lucky to have two such accomplished place-kickers.  James Cameron brought his goals tally to 366 with the sixteen he kicked this season and only needs another 59 points to create a new club points-scoring record.  Both of these totals would have been reached much earlier in the season had he been fit.

Several players were honoured for the efforts during the season with James Wigglesworth being selected for the England Counties U-20 tour to Georgia and both he and back-rower Anthon Maka were selected for the Yorkshire Senior XV.  Adam Tamanis (captain), Morgan Robinson-Eames and Chris Lound were all selected for the Yorkshire U-20s squad and Ben Winterburn and Jakob Ness played for the East Yorkshire U-16 XV in games against North Yorkshire and Central Yorkshire.  Hull had five players selected for the Yorkshire Terriers squad to tour Australia during the summer.  They were Adam Tamanis, Morgan Robinson-Eames, Harry Rix. Jack Hewitt, Greg Lound and Chris Lound. 

Season 2013-14.  New Hull RUFC coach Kerry Wood knew he had a big job on his hands when he started his preparations for the new season with the knowledge that nine of the previous season’s squad had left the club for various reasons.  This was reflected in the fact that Hull lost their first five opening matches, with the opening three all against fancied sides.  The side slowly improved and by the Christmas period, helped by some new faces which had come into the squad, they had won four games, which helped by some useful bonus points had lifted them out of the bottom three places in the table. Five more wins before the end of March, along with more bonus points, had consolidated their position to such an extent that they were sixteen points clear of their nearest rival in the bottom three, eventually finishing a healthy eight points clear at the end of the season. 

The new players brought in, along with some good performers from our partners Bishop Burton College, helped to bring some much needed stability to the side and the second half of the season was notable for some very close results against fancied sides Stourbridge and Sedgley Park.  Team spirit was generally high during the season with all of the side determined to keep Hull in National Two North and tribute must be paid to their courage and conviction that they could accomplish the task which they faced.  Kerry Wood could not have asked any more from his players in what proved to be a very difficult season.

The club had their fair share of representative honours with centre Alex Heard being selected for the England Counties Under-20s side.  He was also selected for games played by the Yorkshire Under-20s side along with props Mike Jobling and Lloyd Harrison and back-rower Ben Sullivan.  The club congratulates all of these players on their selection.

At the junior level Hull had three players in the East Yorkshire Under-16 side which took on North Yorkshire at Pocklington.  Prop Jay Sugden was joined by winger Joe Garwell and  the club Under-16 skipper and scrum-half Harry Collinson.  Congratulations go to all three of these young players who it is hoped will progress within the club.

The club also had good news of former players who were advancing in the game.  Scrum-half Danny White has been retained by Rotherham for next season, full-back Jim Wigglesworth will move from Cambridge to Bedford, and best of all, former No8 Lawrence Pearce will move from Rotherham to Leicester Tigers.  We wish all of these players the very best of luck with their new clubs and will follow their progress with great interest.

At the Club’s Annual May Ball and Dinner held at the KC Stadium in Hull full-back Jamie Barnard, who played in 29 of Hull’s 30 games, was voted the Players’ Player-of-the-Year.  Prop Tom Price was voted as the Forward-of-the-Year and Alex Heard was voted as Back-of-the-Year.  Congratulations to all three players on their awards.
As the season finished Hull were able to make two major announcements regarding season 2014-15.  On May 2nd it was stated the former Director-of-Rugby Geoff Wappatt would be returning to the club as joint D-O-R with Chris Murphy who has held the post for the last two seasons.   On May 12th our long-term Main Sponsors, Beal Homes, had pledged a five-figure sum in continued sponsorship of the club for the new season.  The company have sponsored Hull since their formation in 1992 and it is very reassuring that they will continue their highly-valued support of Hull RUFC.  

Past Presidents

S. Saunt                   1992-93
S. Saunt                   1993-94
S. Saunt                   1994-95
L.J. Sheppard DFC  1995-96
L.J. Sheppard DFC  1996-97
R.H. Gore                1997-98
R.H. Gore                1998-99
A.B. Wilkie             1999-00
A.B. Wilkie             2000-01
J.L. Beal                  2001-02
J.L. Beal                  2002-03
M.A. Harness          2003-04
A .B. Wilkie            2004-05
R.C. Lewis              2005-06
R.C. Lewis              2006-07
G. Lound                 2007-08
G. Lound                 2008-09
R. Gibbin                2009-10
R. Gibbin                2010-11
R. Gibbin                2011-12

J. Dawson OBE    2012-13

J Dawson OBE      2013-14

J Dawson OBE      2014-15

Past Chairmen

R.P. Ashton             1992-93
R.P. Ashton              1993-94
J.L. Beal                   1994-95
J.L. Beal                   1995-96
M.A. Harness           1996-97
M.A. Harness           1997-98
R.C. Lewis                1998-99
R.C. Lewis                1999-00
R. Gibbin                  2000-01
R. Gibbin                  2001-02
G. Lound                  2002-03
G. Lound                  2003-04
G. Lound                  2004-05
A.B. Wilkie               2005-06
A.B. Wilkie               2006-07
A.B. Wilkie               2007-08
L. McKenzie             2008-09
L. McKenzie             2009-10
l. McKenzie              2010-11
A.B. Wilkie               2011-12
A.B. Wilkie               2012-13

A.B. Wilkie               2013-14

D Piercy                  2014-15

Past 1st XV Captains

D.A. Walters             1992-93
W.P. Hazelton           1993-94
M. Lockton               1994-95
M. Lockton               1995-96
R.L. Beal                   1996-97
J.M. Oxley                 1997-98
R.L. Beal                   1998-99
R.L. Beal                   1999-00
W.P. Hazelton           2000-01
L. McKenzie              2001-02
L. McKenzie              2002-03
M. David                    2003-04
G.C. Martinson          2004-05
J.D. Barkworth          2005-06
C. Kendra                   2006-07
C. Murphy                  2007-08
C. Murphy                  2008-09
C. Murphy                  2009-10
J. Cameron                 2010-11
J. Cameron                 2011-12
J. Cameron                 2012-13

Club Centenarians

G.C. Martinson   242
J. Ward               219
L. McKenzie       208

C Murphy           188

A Piercy              183
R.L. Beal             178
D. Booth              177
A. Piercy              174
M. White              172
J. Barkworth        167
M. David             164
C. Murphy           159
D. Prescott           150
M. Lockton          144
D. Clabby            143

J  Cameron          141
W.P. Hazelton     137
A. Atkinson         136

R Devonshire      130
N. Exley              127
P. Lea                  127
G. Jackson           120
R. Devonshire      116
J. Cameron           114
S. Riseam             111
K. Fullman           110

O Cook                 105
M. Holness           104

P Murphy             104
S. Plevey              103

24 in total – 3 Double Centenarians and 21 Centenarians.


Norman Angell

July 2014