Match Reports

Need to Knows




Message Board

Useful Links

Whitehaven RL
Recreation Ground
Coach Rd
Tel 01946 692915

Fax 01946 695805
Email Link

The Immortals...and the Hall of Fame

John McKeown - fullback
JJ pulls a pint to open the bar named in his honour in 2002

A living legend, probably the greatest goal kicker in Cumberland RL history. His phenomenal left boot set the club record of 141 goals in a season. Memorable performance to help beat Australia in 1956. He is seen below kicking against Huddersfield in either 53 or 54. Picture thanks to Joe Burns who is sitting as a lad on the top of the bank.

Bill Smith - right wing

Another Aussie beater. Powerful, straight running winger and rugged defender whose 29 tries in a season stood for many years as a club record. Earned and England shadow team place in an era of brilliant wingmen.

Vince Gribbin - right centre

At 19 years of age he was the club's youngest ever Great Britain cap. Electric pace, smashing Smith's try scoring record with 31 touchdowns and scoring a record six tries in a match against Doncaster.

Eppie Gibson - left centre

Won both the Wembley Challenge Cup and League Championship winners medals with neighbours Workington Town before joining Haven as player-coach. Took Haven to their best ever league position in 1960 and also to the quarter final of the Challenge Cup when 18,500 people packed the Recreation Ground for the tie against eventual winners, Wakefield Trinity.

Syd Lowdon - left wing

Match winner and crowd pleaser. One of the most naturally talented and versatile backs in the club's history. Skipper of the team that beat Australia before being sold to Salford. Fine goalkicker and unlucky not to play for Great Britain. Like Smith, a key member of the 1957 Challenge Cup semi-final team.

Phil Kitchin - stand off

Capped for Great Britain against New Zealand. Edged out Bill Garrett from the Immortals, such was his talent and overall impact on the club.
Arnold Walker - scrum half

Another full international. Brave and skilful, 'Boxer' Walker was a record £30,000 signing from Workington and like Kitchin later coached Haven.

Bill McAlone - prop forward

A forward of Herculean strength. A cornerstone of the great 1957 and 1960 teams, holding his own with the greatest props of the day and grooming some of Whitehaven's finest forwards such as Huddart, Holliday and Tembey.

Aaron Lester - hooker

Only present day Haven player to join The Immortals. New Zealander noted for clever play making and dynamic running suited to the modern game.

John Tembey - prop

Started as a centre and developed into an international class front-row forward. One of the 1960 stars and later transferred to St Helens to win the Test honours.

Dick Huddart - second row

Dick Huddart is cheered at the Recre in June 2004 on a return visit to the Old country. From the left, Phil Kitchen, Bill McAlone, Tommy Keen and Dick Huddard.
One of the all time rugby league greats. Sensational player and a big star of two Great Britain Ashes series wins over Australia. Won even greater honour in the game with St Helens and later Sydney St George in Australia. Still Haven's only GB Tourist.

Bill Holliday - second row

Followed Huddart into the Great Britain team. Joined Hull KR and became the only Cumbrian to captain his country, leading Britain in three Tests against Australia. Also captained the Cumbrian side to a 1967 win over the Kangaroos.

Gordon Cottier - loose forward

Unlucky not to win international honours but ranked as one of the club's most accomplished footballers. Classy with leadership skills and good enough to take the Immortals no 13 shirt away from Geoff Robinson. Sadly Gordon who play 320 times (plus 20 sub appearances) for the Recreation Ground club paased away at the age of 74 in 2023.

Reserves:Bill Garratt, Geoff Robinson, Dave Watson and Les Moore.

The Hall of Fame
latest...Prop forward Bill McAlone has become the third player to be inducted into the club's hall of fame.
McAlone played 327 times for Haven after making his debut in 1950 and he also represented Cumberland 11 times.
He joins legendary goal-kicker John McKeown and the club's only British Lion Dick Huddart in the Hall of Fame which was opened last year.
In 2006 Jeff Bawden, who was born and brought up in Whitehaven, died aged 82.
Bawden started his Rugby League career with Whitehaven amateur club, Hensingham, and after making his debut for Huddersfield in the Yorkshire |Cup against |Hull at Fartown on October 23, l943, gained l4 Cumberland caps.
In June 2006 THE rugby league world was in mourning after the sudden death of Cumbrian legend Ike Southward at Workington.
Unstoppable winger Southward, 71, who was once transferred for a world record fee, starred for Workington, Oldham and briefly Whitehaven during an illustrious career.

Big Screen SL Action. Friday evenings in the JJ McKeown Bar at the Recreation Ground.

www.marras.co.uk the web site of Whitehaven Rugby League