Changing the record - rugby league's history being brought up to date

World record points scorer Neil Fox. Picture: YPN.World record points scorer Neil Fox. Picture: YPN.
World record points scorer Neil Fox. Picture: YPN. | jpimedia
A group of enthusiasts have revived the Rugby League Record Keepers’ Club and are putting together a database of every game played since the sport began 125 years ago.

The mammoth undertaking is being coordinated by Neil Ormston, a Warrington Wolves fan who lives in Leeds.

Run by Irving Saxton, the original club was dissolved in the mid-1990s after researching rugby league’s first century.

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The idea now is to pool that information with details from the summer era, which began in 1996.

Tom Briscoe's five tries for Leeds Rhinos against Hull KR is 2015 is a Challenge Cup final record. Picture by Steve Riding.Tom Briscoe's five tries for Leeds Rhinos against Hull KR is 2015 is a Challenge Cup final record. Picture by Steve Riding.
Tom Briscoe's five tries for Leeds Rhinos against Hull KR is 2015 is a Challenge Cup final record. Picture by Steve Riding. | freelance

“It came up from some chatter on social media over the course of last year,” Ormston said.

“The original Record Keepers’ Club was formed in the 1970s and they standardised the way rugby league records were kept and agreed which games were included and which weren’t.

“By the mid-90s they’d done an exercise document on all the games and had got teams and scoring records for all the matches up to that point. They had kind of done their work at that point, in their mind and there were publications like the Rothman’s Yearbook and other things which were continuing to do things on a season by season basis.

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“They wound the old Record Keepers’ Club up in the mid-90s, but the shift to Super League has changed things. You can get quite easily a lot of reference to Super League appearances and the summer game, but there’s not really anything which stitches the two together and gives an overall view.

“If you want to see an all-time try scorers list now, it doesn’t really exist anywhere - no one has attached the new records with the old ones.

“It felt like there was that big gap there.”

The old club’s records were paper-based and are not easily accessible to the public.

Ormston explained: “The rationale for us, thinking about getting things going again, was to bring the record up to date and have one overall record of the game; to digitise it, get it all loaded into a database and ultimately to get it online, on a website and make it freely available to the wider public.”

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The reformed club was opened for membership on April 1 and 109 people have signed up already.

“From a fairly standing start, I think we have got to a fairly good place and we have got the vast majority of clubs covered,” Ormston added. “We’ve got a website - - which has basic details and hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll have something a bit more substantial.

“The full records going online will be much further down the line because we’ve got a lot of work to do to get everything electronic and secure the data quality before we get to the point of publishing. That’s what we’re asking people to get involved in to help support it this stage. If anyone’s got any interest, please contact me.”

The Rugby League Record Keepers’ Club can be contacted by contacting Ormston’s email address: [email protected].

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