John Birch (rugby league)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people with the same name, see John Birch.
John Birch
Personal information
Full name John Wilkinson Birch
Born 1878
Garforth, England
Died 10 October 1953 (aged 75)
Barwick-in-Elmet, England
Playing information
Height 5 ft 11.5 in (182 cm)
Weight 13 st 0 lb (82.6 kg; 182.0 lb)
Position Prop
Years Team Pld T G FG P
≤1899–01 Leeds Parish Church 41 6
1901–09 Leeds 232 26 1 80
Total 273 32 1 0 80
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1908 England 1 1 0 0 3
1908 Great Britain 1 0 0 0 0
1903 Yorkshire source =

John Wilkinson Birch was born 1878 in Garforth, Leeds to George Birch of Parlington and Alice Ellen Smith of Garforth he married Annie Simpson of Kippax in 1898.He died on the 10 October 1953 (aged 75) in Barwick in Elmet,Leeds while living on Chapel Lane.He was an English professional rugby league footballer of the 1900s, playing at representative level for Great Britain, and England, and at club level for Leeds Parish Church, and Leeds (Heritage № 130), as a Prop, i.e. number 8 or 10, during the era of contested scrums.

Playing career[edit]

Birch played for the Leeds Parish church rugby team he was in the team when they played their last ever match on Wednesday 24 April 1901 Scoring a Try against York with the result going in favour of the Parish Church 21-2 the club was disbanded when the lease on its Clarence Road ground expired When Leeds Parish Church disbanded in 1901 the Church Committee generously placed the whole of their playing staff at the disposal of the Leeds Club who welcomed John Wilkinson Birch and seven of his colleagues; W. Cororan, C. Crumpton, W. Evans, S. Herberts, G. Hewlett, J. McNicholas, and George Mosley. These players did more than merely join the Leeds club, they gave to it all their loyalty, skill and spirit. John Wilkinson Birch made his début against Wakefield Trinity at Headingley on 7 September 1901 running out winners 16-9, many Leeds followers think that strength of the side of these days was greater than anything there has been at Headingley since, and there are many good judges who firmly believe that this 1906 team was the best that ever wore the Leeds jersey; Young, Jenkins, T. Llewellyn, Thomas, Hughes, Ward, Brayshaw, Hewlett, Stead, Lunn, Watts, Webster, Wainwright, Wormald, John Wilkinson Birch. It may be that the passage of time lends enchantment, but it is certainly no exaggeration to say that many of the players in that team are still revered at Headingley today.[1]

International honours[edit]

John Wilkinson Birch won a cap for England while at Leeds in 1908 against Wales,[2] and won a cap for Great Britain while at Leeds in 1908 against New Zealand.[3]

Leeds v The Rest 1902[edit]

When Leeds won the Yorkshire Senior Competition in 1901/02 Leeds proved themselves true Champions with victory over The Rest a team made up of the best players from rival clubs the result been 7-5 on 19 April 1902 at Headingley. The team that day was; Dean, Evans, Littlewood, Davies, Mudd, George Mosley (another ex-Leeds Parish Church), Grace, Hewlett, John Wilkinson Birch, Crumpton, McNicholas, Taylor, Crowther, Hanson, Midgley.

Leeds v New Zealand 1907[edit]

The Leeds team took on New Zealand on 26 October 1907 at Headingley during their pioneering 1907-08 tour of Great Britain. The game was kicked off by Birch in heavy rain making the ground treacherous underfoot the game ended up a win for the tourists 8-2, the team that day was; Young, Scamans, Fawcett, Thomas, Llewellyn, Ward, Wilson, John Wilkinson Birch, Burnley, Harrison, Stead, Wainwright, Webster.

Northern union/Great Britain v New Zealand 1908[edit]

Birch once again met the New Zealand in the third test match on Saturday 13 February 1908 at the Athletic Ground, Cheltenham when he won a cap for Great Britain while playing for his club team Leeds, the game was won by New Zealand 8-5 and the famous encounter would become known as the Great Match of the Edwardian Period. The Great Britain team that day was; H. Taylor, W. Batten, B. Jenkins, P. Thomas, G. Tyson, T. White, J. Jolley, A. Smith, J. L. Clampitt, John Wilkinson Birch, J. Spencer, W. Holder.


  1. ^ Dalby, Ken (1955). The Headingley Story - 1890-1955 - Volume One - Rugby. The Leeds Cricket, Football & Athletic Co. Ltd ASIN: B0018JNGVM
  2. ^ "England Statistics at". englandrl. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Great Britain Statistics at". englandrl. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 

External links[edit]