James Lomas (rugby league)

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James Lomas
Personal information
Full name James Lomas
Born 26 August 1879
Maryport, Cumberland, England
Died 11 February 1960(1960-02-11) (aged 80)
Crumpsall, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Playing information
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)[1]
Weight 13 st 5 lb (85 kg)[1]
Rugby union
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1896–98 Maryport
Rugby league
Position Three-quarter
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1900–01 Bramley 31 4 21 54
1901–10 Salford 304 208 464 1552
1910–12 Oldham 80 38 37 188
1913–19 York 53 21 68 199
1922–24 Salford 8 0 6 12
Total 476 271 596 0 2005
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1899–1912 Cumberland 14 6 8 34
1901–06 Lancashire 9 2 6 18
1904–11 England 13 6 21 60
1908–12 Great Britain 7 4 12 36
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1922–26 Salford
Source: [2][3][4][5]

James Lomas (26 August 1879 – 11 February 1960) was a pioneering English rugby league footballer of the late 19th century, and early 20th century. Hailing from Maryport, Cumberland, his career lasted for twenty-four years from 1899 to 1923. A three-quarter and prominent goal-kicker, Lomas captained the Great Britain national rugby league team.

Early life[edit]

Lomas was born on 26 August 1879 in Maryport, Cumberland, England, the son of Sarah (née Tyson) and James Lomas. He is the younger brother of Tom Smith,[6] who played association football for Preston North End and Tottenham Hotspur.


Early career[edit]

Lomas started his career with his hometown rugby union club, Maryport. His first known appearance for the first team came on 14 November 1896 in a 3–0 defeat against Millom.[2] Lomas remained with the club when they made the switch to rugby league and joined the Northern Union in March 1898. In 1899, he made his début appearance for Cumberland aged 19, scoring the only try of the match which was a 3-0 victory over Cheshire at Whitehaven.[7]


Lomas became rugby league's first £100 transfer, from Bramley to Salford in 1901[8] (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £35,890 in 2013).[9] He then played in 1904's first ever international rugby league match for England against Other Nationalities. His club record for most points in a game (39), achieved for Salford against Liverpool City on 2 February 1907, still stands today.

Lomas was also notable for his goal-kicking style. He was the first player to stand the ball up on its end.[10] Lomas won caps for England while at Salford playing Centre, i.e. number 4, but arriving after the start of the match, in the 3-9 defeat by Other Nationalities at Central Park, Wigan on Tuesday 5 April 1904, in the first ever international rugby league match.[11] in 1905 against Other Nationalities, in 1906 against Other Nationalities, in 1908 against New Zealand, and Wales, in 1909 against Australia (3 matches) and Wales.[12] Lomas also won caps for Great Britain while at Salford in 1908–09 against Australia (2 matches, both as captain), in 1910 against Australia (2 matches), Australasia and New Zealand. Lomas captained the successful first British tour of the Southern Hemisphere which began on 4 June 1910. He also represented England in 1910 against Wales.[1]


In 1910 he joined Oldham from Salford for a fee of £300, (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £104,600 in 2013),[9] while there in 1911 playing for England against Wales, and Australia (2 matches). Lomas also played in Oldham's Challenge Cup loss to Dewsbury in the 1912 final. Also while at Oldham he represented Great Britain in 1911–12 Australia (2 matches).[13]

During Lomas' time there was Salford's 5-3 victory over Huddersfield in the Championship Final during the 1913–14 season. He had also represented Cumberland, and Lancashire.


As the coach of Salford, player shortages forced Lomas to play in some cup matches for Salford in the 1922–23 season, and in 1923–24 season he was again forced to make some appearances. His last match for Salford, aged 44, was against Wakefield Trinity on 29 September 1923.[14] He continued in his coaching role at Salford until the 1925–26 season.


The Courtney Goodwill Trophy, international rugby league′s first, was presented for the first time in 1936 and depicted Lomas, along with other pioneering greats of the code, Jean Galia (France), Albert Baskiville (New Zealand) and Dally Messenger (Australia).[15]

Lomas was the subject of a book, The King of Brilliance: James Lomas – a Rugby League Superstar, which was published in 2011.[2]




Cumberland Senior League (1): 1899–1900


Rugby League Championship: 1910–11



County Championship (3): 1902–03, 1903–04, 1905–06


County Championship (3): 1907–08, 1909–10, 1911–12

Career statistics[edit]

Lomas was a prolific points scorer throughout his career, finishing with a total of 2,312 points in all competitions.[16] Lomas' total points was an all-time career record until it was surpassed by Jim Sullivan during the 1928–29 season.


  1. ^ a b c "Papers Past – Evening Post – 14 May 1910 – Football". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Morris, Graham (2011). The King of Brilliance : James Lomas - A Rugby League Superstar. London League Publications. ISBN 978-1-903659-57-1. 
  3. ^ England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
  4. ^ Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
  5. ^ Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org
  6. ^ According to Morris (2011), Lomas' mother, Sarah, had previously been married to John Smith, who was reportedly lost at sea in October 1870. Sarah subsequently met James Lomas, but they could not marry until Sarah's husband was officially declared dead. Morris surmises that "it is highly probable that Tom was their first child and, because they were not then wed, he inherited his mother's surname."
  7. ^ newsandstar.co.uk (17 March 2010). "'Name Man of the Match Award after Cumberland Legend'". News & Star. UK: CN Group. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". Independent, The. independent.co.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "Measuring Worth – Relative Value of UK Pounds". Measuring Worth. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Cann, W. A. (12 June 1946). "1908–09 Kangaroos blazed R. L. trail". Sydney Morning Herald, The. Australia. p. 9. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  11. ^ Fagan, Sean. "The First International Rugby League Match". rl1895.com. Archived from the original on 12 February 2004. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk". englandrl. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk". englandrl. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Tom Mather (2010). "Best in the Northern Union". Pages 128–142. ISBN 978-1-903659-51-9
  15. ^ “League Legends: fast facts about rugby league” at nsm.org.au
  16. ^ Lomas also scored an additional 28 points for Maryport, but these are excluded from official records

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rugby league transfer record
Bramley to Salford

Succeeded by
James Lomas
Preceded by
James Lomas
Rugby league transfer record
Salford to Oldham

Succeeded by
Billy Batten