Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are pleased to announce the eighth and final entrant into the Trinity Hall of Fame 'Class of 2015" is Don Fox.
Don Fox’s contribution to Wakefield Trinity’s history may have only been a short one but a memorable one and in the space of his five years he would go down in rugby league folklore as well as gaining two Championship winners medals and a host of memories for anyone that saw him play.
For anyone that did see Don Fox play for Trinity or read the stories written about him many words spring to mind … inspirational, sparkling, pivotal, brilliant tactician, craftiness, shrewd ball distribution, kicking, pack leader, timed passes … the list was endless.
Don had had an illustrious thirteen career at Featherstone Rovers before joining his brother, Neil, at Trinity in 1965. He debuted at Doncaster, at loose forward, in a 10-8 win. Trinity were rebuilding after the ‘Glory Years’ of the early 1960s and Don picked up a Yorkshire League Championship medal in his first season. Over the next three years, Don was inspirational in guiding Trinity to some if their greatest wins in their history.
An 18-0 away win at champions, Halifax in March 1966 stands out and the following season supporters still talk of the winning drop goal from 40 yards out and near the touchline, to defeat Hunslet 18-17 after training0-17 at half time, followed by another match winning drop goal in a 15-13 win at Wigan. In 1966-67 Trinity finished third in the league and Don led the pack to the Championship Final. Salford, Workington and Hull KR were all defeated asDon led Trinity to their very first Championship success with a 21-9 victory over St.Helens after a 7-7 draw.
The following season was even better with a second placed finish and a chance of the ‘double’. Injuries and poor form saw Trinity in 13thplace in the league, at Christmas, but fourteen victories in their last fifteen games surged them into the top four. Don had now moved to prop forward, after a time in the scrum half shirt. Trinity reached Wembley after victories over Barrow, Salford, Castleford and Huddersfield, Don being inspirational and then reached their second consecutive Championship Final with victories over Huddersfield, Castleford and Wigan with Don’s ‘majestic’ goal kicking leading the way.
A 17-10 victory over Hull KR at Headingley gave Don his second Championship winners medal. A week later, Don was inspirational again to win the Lance Todd Trophy at Wembley but history shows that Leeds won the cup 11-10in the ‘Watersplash’ final with Don going down in Wembley history. Injuries and poor club form affected his last couple of years at Trinity and he moved to Batley in March 1970, retiring a year later.
Don Fox’s legacy is much more than the ‘Watersplash of 1968’. As John Lindley noted in his 1973 book, ‘100 Years of Rugby’, “Don Fox was a match winner, by kick or pass, and he was a tactician and creator of opportunities and despite his comparatively short career with Trinity he ranks with the club’s greatest tacticians of all time”