Bramley Rugby League Legends – Ernest Humphreys

22 December 2019

Having played Rugby Union for Leeds Grammar School, Ernest signed for his beloved Bramley in 1948 and made his debut on the right wing in the 17-7 home victory against Batley on 27th August 1949, writes Paul Abraham. 

He appeared in a total of four matches during the season, three on the right wing and one on the left wing.

The following season saw Ernest score his first try for Bramley in the season opener at Rochdale, a match which the amber and blacks won 13-8.

Ernest once revealed that on the way to matches in Lancashire, which often took three hours or more to travel there, the team coach would stop half-way and from the boot of the coach, tea urns and boxes of buns were brought out! 

Ernest, now playing on the left wing showed what potential he had when scoring the only try in a tight and tough 5-4 home win against Castleford.

He then scoring in four consecutive matches during late September and early October, a brace against Liverpool Stanley (won 22-12) at home and a try at the Barley Mow versus Oldham (lost 8-12) a try in the 11-21 reverse at Huddersfield and finally one in the 24-18 home win against Whitehaven.

After scoring at Keighley in a 7-16 defeat it would be four months before he crossed the whitewash again when he scored during the 16-10 home win against Rochdale Hornets. 

He added another five tries by the end of the season including tries in the final two matches of the season, a 24-11 home victory versus Barrow and a nine-all draw at Liverpool Stanley, finishing with an impressive haul of 14 tries in 30 appearances.

1951-52 started as Ernest had finished the last season by scoring a try in the first game of the season as Bramley defeated Castleford at home 18-12. 

The highlight of his season was scoring a try against the New Zealand touring team as Bramley came so close to defeating the Kiwis before going down 20-24. 

The two league matches against Keighley were extreme as you could get with Ernest scoring in the terrible 7-53 home loss, but then scoring the winning touchdown in a 7-6 victory at Keighley. 

He added two tries to his seasons total in a 22-8 Barley Mow victory against Liverpool City.  The match he played in on Christmas Day against Doncaster was his 50th appearance for the club, a game Bramley won 7-0.

1952-53 brought him four tries in sixteen appearances including tries in four home defeats against Barrow (9-10), Salford (6-16), Rochdale (17-44) and Bradford Northern (10-44). 

The next season saw him appear in the first four matches of the season which included scoring two tries in a thrilling 15-13 home win against Salford. 

Sadly a bad shoulder injury finished his season just as he was hitting form.  

Season 54-55 saw Ernest back to his best when scoring seven tries in 31 matches, the highlight being one of the try scorers in a stunning 20-10 victory at Hull.

Other tries came in the defeats at Bradford (7-21) at Castleford (11-14) at Hunslet (9-19) and also in the drawn Yorkshire Cup tie at home to Doncaster plus a brace at home to Leeds (13-22). 

Another injury ravaged season resulted in just seven appearances during the 55-56 campaign, however he played and scored in the final two matches of the season, scoring two in a stirring 16-12 home success versus Wakefield Trinity and in the final match, an impressive 27-5 hammering of Keighley. 

Halifax spoilt his 100th appearance for the club in April 1955 when they defeated the Villagers at Thrum Hall 31-16.

Injuries again limited his appearances for the next two seasons. 

Two tries in the 36-17 defeat of Batley and a try during the 35-13 victory over Dewsbury both at the Barley Mow and a consolation try at Castleford in a 10-17 loss was his reward for the ten appearances of 1956-57. 

The following season saw tries At Leeds in a disastrous  10-55 defeat in the Yorkshire Cup tie and the only try in the 7-33 home defeat by Featherstone during his eight appearances.

The 1958-59 campaign saw more of the old Ernest as he scored in three consecutive matches, at home to Blackpool (10-!8) and Hull KR (14-6) and in the 5-16 defeat at York. 

He had also scored in successive matches earlier in the season when crossing in the 30-15 home victory against Keighley and at Castleford in a tight 9-10 reverse. 

His other try came in the 12-20 home loss to neighbours Hunslet.  Having played just 18 times during the previous two season, he pulled the amber and black jersey on 18 times during the season.

Ernest played for Bramley for the last time on February 6th 1960 in a disappointing 0-33 loss at Halifax. 

His final try was fittingly at the Barley Mow ground in the 18-34 defeat to Leeds. 

He scored tries at home against Castleford (won 14-10), Huddersfield (lost 12-19) and in the 17-17 draw versus Hunslet (which was his 50th career try for the club) and a try in an 8-27 reverse at York.  

Ernest later served the club with distinction as a director during two separate stints.

Season         Appearances          Tries

49-50                       4                           0

50-51                     31                       14             

51-52                     21                         6

52-53                     16                           4

53-54                       4                           2

54-55                     31                           7

55-56                       7                           3

56-57                     10                           3

57-58                       8                           2

58-59                     18                           6

59-60                     15                           5

Total                   165                        52            

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