This past week marks the 100th anniversary of Hector Halsall’s Swinton Lions RLFC debut, where he would go onto become one of the most famous players in the club’s history.
Fans for generations have recognised him as the captain who lead them to victory in the 1927/1928 season in which they carried “All five cups.”
After moving from Wigan, where he was born, in 1920 he established himself at the club as a defensive centre and would have his first match against St Helens Recreation on 6th November 2020.
It was in the 1922/1923 season that his talent became truly noticed as he was appointed club skipper and would go onto lead the Lions to the majority of their major victories throughout the 1920s.
It was in 1925 that Halsall reached his first major achievement when Swinton defeated Wigan in the 1925 Lancashire Cup. Unfortunately however, he had to remain on the sidelines in the Challenge Cup final when they lost to Oldham.
One of his greatest achievements came in the 1927/28 season when Halsall lead the Lions in a victorious game against Wigan, earning them the Lancashire Cup and also the Lancashire League title.
He also captained the team when the Lions defeated Warrington with a 5-3 win in the 1928 Challenge Cup Final.
The height of the team’s success came when Mr. Halsall scored a try against the Featherstone Rovers in the Championship Final at Watersheddings.
Halsall also won representative honours and would go on to play twice for Lancashire and in 1930 joined the Great Britain team that would face up against Australia in the deciding Ashes Test.
Exactly 100 years ago today, Lions legend Hector Halsall made his debut for Swinton, later becoming one of the most famous names in our club’s history.
— Swinton Lions RLFC (@Swinton_Lions) November 6, 2020
The match was held at the Lions’ new ground which had only opened 10 months earlier whilst he was still serving as captain for the club, yet his last match would come this same year.
On February 22nd 1930 his career in rugby league would end in a game against Widnes, but in the decade that he played for Swinton Lions he made a memorable impact. Over his time at the club he made 369 appearances and scored an impressive 55 tries and 17 goals.
In his later life, Halsall would coach for brief periods at both Leigh and Barrow, leading the latter to the 1938 Challenge Cup Final. Sadly, he passed away in September 1966 leaving an everlasting legacy on Swinton Lions RLFC.
Featured image credit: Swinton Lions