Ken Hirst

Tributes have been paid to a former Wakefield Trinity player who "dedicated his life to sport".

Ken Hirst, of Towngate in Ossett, died on Saturday after a seven year battle with cancer.

Mr Hirst, 68, first signed with the Wakefield rugby club at the age of 16.

He competed in many major championship matches, including making two appearances at Wembley.

His wife, Irene, said: "He loved rugby and his whole life was about sport.

Mr Hirst made his try scoring debut for Wakefield Trinity on the wing helping defeat the touring Australian team at Belle Vue.

He went on to play in 142 games for Trinity, scoring 100 tries for the club.

The most notable being the two tries he scored in the 1968 "watersplash" final against Leeds at Wembley.

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This dramatic final was played despite the pitch being saturated after heavy rain

Mr Hirst said: "In August he went to a rugby reunion with his fellow players from the 1968 watersplash final. I'm so glad he got to go, he enjoyed it so much seeing all his old team mates. He was struggling with his illness but he still made it."

After his rugby career ended, Mr and Mrs Hirst took over the Tawny Owl pub on Prospect Road in Ossett, which they owned for 20 years.

Mr Hirst was also a keen golfer and a member of the Low Laithes golf club.

Mrs Hirst said: "We loved to go on holidays to Spain, we went three or four times a year. And he was a real fancy motorcar enthusiast. He had quite a few.

"He was such a fighter and only began to deteriorate in the last four months. It is still such a shock and he will be missed terribly."

Mr Hirst leaves a son, Alex and daughter-in-law Karen, and his seven-month-old grandaughter Evie.

A funeral service will be held at Christ Church in South Ossett on Tuesday December 30.

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