St. Helens 44 Hunslet 22 (VIEW MATCH)

1959 Championship final

van Vollenhoven hat-trick turns the tide.



Hunslet raid repelled
Ace South African wingman Tom van Vollenhoven scored a record 392 tries for Saints, but his first of an eventual hat-trick in this points extravaganza was arguably the best of the lot! Picture the scene in this eagerly-awaited climax to the season: Star-studded, but patently out-of-touch Saints find themselves 12-4 down after 25 minutes against unfashionable Hunslet. Enter van Vollenhoven, courtesy of half-backs Alex Murphy and Wilf Smith, along with centre Doug Greenall, whose move from the scrum-base gave the former Springbok no more than just a ghost of a chance, two feet from touch and 75 yards out! Little did the massive crowd assembled on the dusty slopes of the Odsal amphitheatre on a stifling late spring afternoon realise they were about to witness an epic try, arguably the best ever seen in a Championship Final! Greenall's deft pass saw Voll race away from Hunslet 'policeman' Willie Walker and then break the tackle of full-back Billy Langton on half-way. Covering defenders Brian Shaw, Jim Stockdill and Don Hatfield were left floundering by uncanny change of pace and sledgehammer hand-off before Tom majestically threaded his way to the Hunslet try-line.

The try galvanised hitherto shell-shocked Saints into concerted action and with Austin Rhodes's goal meaning their deficit was now only 12-9, skipper Alan Prescott's men released the shackles to indulge in the free-flowing rugby which is Saints' birthright. The final score was a record in a Championship Final, as was the 10-goal tally of full-back Rhodes, who had switched from scrum-half only a fortnight previously following a knee injury to regular choice Glyn Moses.

A gallant Hunslet side lacked nothing in guts and determination and had the consolation of scoring the highest number of points by a losing team, but simply could not cope with the speed and fitness of a now super-charged Saints, whose opening salvo had been two penalty goals by Rhodes, but - spurred by Vollenhoven's timely intervention - they notched further tries from Murphy (2), Jan Prinsloo, Wilf Smith and Dick Huddart.


MATCH PLAYERS

P

PHOTO

NAME

T

G

DG

1

Austin

Rhodes

10

»

2

Tom

van Vollenhoven

3

»

3

Duggie

Greenall

»

4

Brian

McGinn

»

5

Jan

Prinsloo

1

»

6

Wilf

Smith

1

»

7

Alex

Murphy

2

»

8

Ab

Terry

»

9

Tom

McKinney

»

10

Alan

Prescott

»

11

Brian

Briggs

»

12

Dick

Huddart

1

»

13

Vinty

Karalius

»

MATCH IMAGES

Tom van Vollenhoven at the Town Hall
Tom van Vollenhoven on the chase