Obituary: Jeff Grayshon, rugby league player

Jeff Grayshon, who has died at 72, was a former Dewsbury, Batley and Great Britain rugby league forward who also played for Leeds, Featherstone Rovers and Bradford.

Jeff Grayshon

Jeff Grayshon, who has died at 72, was a former Dewsbury, Batley and Great Britain rugby league forward who also played for Leeds, Featherstone Rovers and Bradford.

Born in Batley, he made his debut against Oldham at Watersheddings in September 1970. It was the first of 776 professional appearances and his career went on for so long that eventually, at Featherstone, he found himself playing against his son.

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Originally a centre, he was in the second row when Dewsbury beat the hot favourites, Leeds, to win the Championship in 1973, having finished eighth on the table.

He had a spell playing in Australia in 1977 before moving to Bradford, after eight years and more than 200 games for Dewsbury.

Having switched from second row to prop, he captained Bradford Northern to successive Division One titles under coach Peter Fox, and again reached a double century of appearances.

He was signed by Fox at Leeds in 1985 for a £12,000 transfer fee, and his 33 games included the classic 24-24 draw with Hull KR in a 1986 Challenge Cup semi-final, watched by a 23,866 crowd at Elland Road, and the replay on the same ground, which Leeds lost 17-0.

After Fox was sacked, Grayshon returned to Bradford for a season and then signed for Featherstone, again under Fox, where he went on to make more than 100 appearances.

In April, 1990, he packed down for Rovers against his 22-year-old son Paul, who was playing for Bradford. The two had played together in Northern’s ‘A’ team four years earlier.

In 1991, aged 41, he left Rovers for Batley where he had a spell as player-coach before finally hanging up his boots in 1995, aged 45. Only Jim Sullivan, Gus Risman and Neil Fox have played more professional games.

Grayshon also coached at Mount Pleasant during the first summer season, in 1996. He was awarded an MBE in June 1992.

Besides Paul, he is survived by his wife, Sue, and by two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.