Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are proud to announce the sixth inductee into the 'Class of 2015' Hall of Fame … 1960s international forward, Bob Haigh.
Bob Haigh was a fast, elusive second rower in the 1960s and went from his home village of Crigglestone to the international heights of the World Cup in Sydney in the space of six years, in a career that also included Championship success and county and international honours at Trinity.
He signed for Trinity in 1962 after a couple of years in the club’s junior and intermediate teams. He debuted in a league match against Bradford Northern in that September, in a ‘back three’ that included Derek Turner and Brian Briggs. In his seventeenth game he won the distinction of being Trinity’s first ever used substitute when he came off the bench against the 1963 touring Australians, who put out a full test side, including Gasnier, Langlands and Raper in a 29-14 Kangaroo victory.
In the early 1960s the Trinity pack consisted of internationals Wilkinson, Vines, Briggs and Turner but he forced his way in and played seventy times between 1964 and 1966. Bob and Trinity won the 1964 Yorkshire Cup, defeating Leeds 18-2 and were one step away from Wembley in 1965 after a semi final defeat to Hunslet. In 1966 he picked up his second winners medal when Trinity won the 1966 Yorkshire League Championship.
Over the next couple of years, he was one of the cornerstones of the Trinity pack as the club won two RL Championship Trophies (1967 and 1968), reached Wembley in 1968, which led to representative honours.
He gained his first international honours in 1966 when he represented England under 24s in a 7-4 victory over France in Bayonne. His Championship winning exploits alerted the full international selectors and he joined club teammate, Ian Brooke, in the 1968 World Cup squad to Australia. His Great Britain debut came at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a 10-25 loss to Australia in front of over 62,000 and followed by another defeat, 2-7, against France in Auckland. On his return home he was selected for Yorkshire, scoring in a 45-3 victory over Cumberland at Hull KR and within a month was in the England side. The European Championships had been re-born and Bob gained three England caps with games against Wales and France in 1969-70.
His wide running skills and try scoring exploits, especially backing up Don Fox breaks, where he scored twenty tries in the two Championship winning seasons, caused Leeds to come in with a record breaking offer and he moved to Headingley in the 1970 off-season for £6,000. He scored 58 tries in his eight Trinity years and 250 appearances. He had seven years at Leeds with more international honours and try scoring records finishing with two years at Bradford Northern, where he won the 1979 Harry Sunderland Trophy, and a year at Dewsbury, retiring in 1980.
Bob Haigh was a great ‘clubman’ leading to many honours throughout the 1960s. As well as his try scoring exploits he was also a great cover defender with his speed adding to many of his well respected skills.