Monday, 8 November 2010

Viv Huzzey's Oldham RLFC Record 1900 - 1903

Today's Oldham Roughyeds home shirt
VIV (H.V.P.) HUZZEY played for Oldham between 1900 and 1903. In 'official' matches he played a total of 40 times in the first team, mainly as a winger. Remarkably, he scored 22 tries in those 40 games at a time when tries were more difficult to come by than they are in the modern game. He also kicked 23 goals for a total of 112 points (a try in those days being worth only 3 pts).

His season-by-season record was as follows: 1900-01, played 22 (13 right wing, 5 right centre, 4 left wing), 10 tries, 10 goals; 1901-02, played 16 (9 right wing, 4 left wing, 2 stand-off, 1 right centre), 12 tries, 13 goals; 1902-3, played 2 (both at full back).

In addition to those 40 'official' appearances he also played in several friendly games in the 1900-01 season. There were six of these games and we have no record of how the teams lined up but we do know that Viv scored in at least three of them as follows: 3 tries away at Halifax in a 12-a-side friendly; 3 tries against Halifax in a 12-a-side friendly at home; and two tries against a local team, Werneth, in a match in which the Oldham team was billed as "Huzzey's team".

He also played in some unofficial games in the 1901-02 season, scoring two tries and two goals against South Shields; four goals against St Helens; and one goal against Hull. These figures were not included in his 'official' tries and goals records.

Henry Vivian Pugh Huzzey, to give him his full name, played on the wing for the Welsh RU side five times and also represented Wales at baseball before signing for Oldham in 1900.

In 1900-01 Oldham were Lancashire champions, finishing top of the Lancashire Senior Competition with 22 wins and a draw from 26 games. They finished with 45 points -- one more than second placed Swinton in a tight finish.

On Jan 12, 1901 Viv played right wing for Oldham when 23,000 turned up at Watersheddings to watch the top of the table clash with Swinton. During the match Jim Valentine, the Swinton captain, protested that spectators had spilled on to the pitch and as a result the referee missed a Swinton try. As Swinton won 7-5 they didn't press the matter, but Oldham did and the match was replayed in late February resulting in a 3-3 draw which ultimately cost Swinton the championship.

In the same year Oldham reached the semi-final of the Challenge Cup but lost 9-2 to the eventual winners Batley, at Huddersfield. Viv played on the left wing in that semi-final and kicked the Oldham goal.

In the same season he scored a hat-trick of tries from the right wing against Rochdale Hornets in a 33-5 win at the Athletic Grounds, Rochdale.

In 1901-02 the top seven clubs from Yorkshire and the top seven from Lancashire formed a new 14-club division, and the South East Lancashire League was introduced to maintain local derbies. Oldham finished 9th in the new Northern Rugby League and 5th out of 6 in the new SE Lancs League

Viv's try scoring in this season included a hat-trick against in a 29-2 home win against Brighouse on October 5, 1901 when he played right wing in the following team: Thomas; Huzzey, S Lees, Civil, Williams; Lawton, A Lees; Bonser, Wilkinson, Frater, Vowles, Topham, Ferguson, Ellis, Telfer.

R L Thomas and Joe Ferguson were legends of the Oldham club, Thomas playing 363 times between 1897 and 1909 and Ferguson chalking up an astonishing 627 appearances --- a record --- between 1899 and 1923.


Many thanks to Oldham RLFC's Media Manager, Roger Halstead for supplying this information and to Rachael Marsters, their Commercial Manager, for responding to my email requests.

For more info on Oldham Roughyeds RLFC (as they are now called) visit their site.

It's interesting to note that my grandfather, Vivian Huzzey, HVP (Viv) Huzzey's eldest child, was born in 1900, the very year he joined Oldham RLFC. Born on the 18th June, one imagines the wee bairn Viv (who I knew of course as an old man full of sea-faring tales), travelling up to Oldham as a babe in arms and later as a toddler.


  1. This is an excellent blog!

    Glad to see that you have a love for rugby running through your veins, too!

    My cousin has just started playing for Wales - watch out for a young lad called George North!

  2. Thanks for your kind comments. George North looks like a fine young man and a superb rugby player! He was the silver lining on the Welsh match last Saturday. Though in hospital and not feeling great I caught the last 15 minutes and at least witnessed a Welsh team with some fighting spirit. Sadly I missed George's tries... but heard they were superb.


No foul language please