15 October 1935|
Sharlston, West Yorkshire, England
|Died||21 August 2008
Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England
|Position||Scrum-half, Loose forward|
He was born in Sharlston, near Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire. He was the brother of Peter and Neil Fox, and together they formed one of the legendary rugby league families. Don holds the Featherstone Rovers record for tries scored (162) and is third on their all-time goal-kicking charts with 503 in 369 appearances, itself the 7th most in Featherstone history, having enjoyed 13 years at the club before joining Wakefield in 1965 for £3,000 (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £90,100 in 2009). Don Fox earned his début for Featherstone as a Scrum-half/Halfback in 1953. A gifted player, he broke the club's record points scored in a season the next winter and was called up for England's game against France. He was an outstanding kicker, scoring 12 goals in a Challenge Cup victory against Stanningley in 1964. He was understudy to Alex Murphy on the 1962 Lions tour of Australasia and then moved to Loose forward/Lock where he earned his sole Test cap for Great Britain against Australia in 1963. He joined Wakefield in 1965, linking up with his young brother Neil and they enjoyed great success with Trinity. After he retired from playing the game in 1970, he coached Batley before becoming a safety joiner in the South Yorkshire coalfield.
Don Fox was selected for Great Britain while at Featherstone Rovers for the 1962 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Rugby Football League Championship Final Appearances
Don Fox played Loose forward/Lock, i.e. number 13, in Wakefield Trinity's 21-9 victory over St Helens RLFC in the 1966-67 Rugby Football League Championship final replay at Station Road, Swinton on Wednesday 10 May 1967, and played Tighthead Prop Forward, i.e. number 10, and scored a goal in the 17-10 victory over Hull KR in the 1967-68 Rugby Football League Championship final at Headingley Stadium on Saturday 4 May 1968.
Challenge Cup final appearances
Fox enjoyed a glittering career but is probably best remembered for his escapades during the famous 1968 'watersplash' Challenge Cup final between Wakefield and Leeds. In atrocious conditions at Wembley, the score was 11-7 to Leeds when Ken Hirst scored under the posts for Wakefield with the final play of the game. As tries were only worth three points at that time, the simple conversion was needed to give Wakefield a one-point lead and win the game. Wakefield fans were jubilant as the conversion from in front of the posts is by far the easiest kick in rugby league and Fox was such a prolific kicker that it realistically should have presented no problem. However, the saturated, sodden state of the pitch made this a more difficult proposition, and Fox lost his footing and sliced the ball wide of the posts. The final whistle was blown immediately afterwards, giving Leeds a dramatic one-point victory. This incident was immortalised for the millions watching on television by legendary commentator Eddie Waring's reaction at the time: 'He's a poor lad'. Fox had already been chosen to win the Lance Todd Trophy for his performance in the match, but he was disconsolate and trudged off the pitch (interviewed by David Coleman on television later, he was asked if it was any consolation and famously replied "not really, no"). Folklore states that Waring took Fox to Featherstone's Post Office Road ground the day after and he kicked several conversions in his carpet slippers. The boots he was wearing during the game are now on display at Wakefield Museum.
- "Btinternet.com". Archived from the original on 2012-06-30.[dead link]
- "Sporting Bygones: Golden days of the Sixties when Wakefield ruled the roost…". yorkshirepost.co.uk. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Measuring Worth - Relative Value of UK Pounds". Measuring Worth. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- Edgar, Harry (2007). Rugby League Journal Annual 2008 Page-110. Rugby League Journal Publishing. ISBN 0-9548355-3-0
- "Representative Players". featherstonerovers.net. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- Hoole, Les (2004). Wakefield Trinity RLFC - FIFTY GREAT GAMES. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-429-9
- BBC News
- England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org
- SportsFile: Caught in Time: Leeds win the Challenge Cup, 1968
- Obituary in The Telegraph
- Obituary in The Times
- Obituary in The Independent
- Obituary in The Guardian
- Rugby League Final 1968