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Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos 1864-1900: How it all began

1864-1900: How it all began

1864-1900: How it all began
The first record of a rugby club in Leeds dates back to 1864 when HI Jenkinson placed advert in the Leeds Mercury inviting players to meet up at Woodhouse Moor a few days a week from 7 to 8am. That advert attracted over 500 members. From this initial interest several clubs were formed including Leeds St Johns who were to become what we know today as Leeds Rhinos.St Johns, who were formed in 1870, were originally known as the Old “Blue & Ambers,” and played on the Cardigan Fields ground. The membership was originally confined to the church classes but was soon expanded. By 1887 St. Johns had reached their first Cup Final, the Yorkshire Cup. The team on that day was JW Hutton, R Walters, W Gray, JH Potter, R Burrell, W Place, J Illingworth, EG Load, JW Moore, J Milner, C Macmillan, G Naylor, JA Storer, B West and J Watmough. The lost out on the day to a strong Wakefield Trinity side but the seed of success had been sown.Three years later the biggest change in Leeds sport was about to happen. In 1888 leading citizens and sportsmen of Leeds, came up with a plan to create a premier club for the city and they agreed to purchase Lot 17a at the sale of the Cardigan Estates. They did and Lot 17a became the finest cricket and rugby stadium in the country, to which everybody knows today as Headingley.Leeds St. Johns played their last season as St. Johns in 1889-90 and their first as the Football Section of the Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Co. Ltd. the following season. The Leeds clubs first ever game was against Otley at the old Cardigan Fields ground as Headingley was not ready for the start of the season however a fortnight later the first match on the new ground was against Manningham on September 20 1890. Leeds played in terra cotta and green jerseys won through by four points to nil.

Leeds were one of the breakaway clubs who formed the Northern Union (Rugby Football League) in 1895. It is worth noting that the Northern Union played in accordance to Rugby Union rules for the first two seasons before changing the scoring system in 1897 and then dropping two players in 1906.

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