Harold Poynton, rugby league player

Harold Poynton
Harold Poynton
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Harold Poynton, who has died at 82, was the only Wakefield Trinity captain to lead the club to the league championship.

A brilliant stand-off half, he was at the heart of the 1960s team that became the most successful in the town’s history.

Harold Poynton.

Harold Poynton.

“With a ball he was like a magician. He had it one minute and it was gone the next,” remembered his teammate and friend, Neil Fox.

“As a player, he was here, there and everywhere. He was only small, but he was hard. He would go into much bigger forwards and knock them back.

“He was a bit unreliable when it came to getting to training on time but when he was there, he never wanted to leave the field.”

Born in Lupset, between Wakefield and Ossett, he made his debut for Trinity in 1958, after his Army service.

He was a key member of the Trinity team in 1961-62 which picked up the Yorkshire Cup, the Yorkshire League Championship and the Challenge Cup at Wembley.

His form earned up a call up to the Great Britain Lions squad, playing three times in Australia.

In 1963, he again helped Trinity to the Challenge Cup, picking up the Lance Todd Trophy for his man-of-the-match performance against the favourites, Wigan.

Championship trophies followed in 1967 and 1968, as well as a runners-up medal in the famous 1968 ‘Watersplash’ final of the Challenge Cup, at a waterlogged Wembley Stadium.

He stepped down in 1970, having played 319 games for Trinity. Later, he became one of the first players inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame and remained a regular in the stands at Belle Vue.

David Hinchliffe, the former Wakefield MP, and a rugby league fan, said he had been “up among the very best”, and had never lost his pride at having come from Wakefield.