1 Jul 2020

New book celebrates Wagstaff & Rorke's Drift Test

Honley Author and Giants Fan publishes a book celebrating Harold Wagstaff, the Rorke’s Drift test and the team of all the talents.

Photo courtesy of Huddersfield RL Heritage - As well as being an international rugby player Douglas Clark was a top class wrestler who later went on to become a world champion. Like all the other players he also had a day job.

‘Backs to the Wall’ is a novel which follows the early career of Harold Wagstaff from his Pump Hole Rangers days right through to the record breaking 1914 – 15 season, when the Fartowners won all ‘All Four Trophies’.

Starting out in 1905, the book describes the development of the young Wagstaff, alongside the birth of professionalism in New Zealand and Australia, including the critical role played by a Wellington postal clerk called Albert Baskerville.

As Bryn explains "From my early days of watching Fartown I have been fascinated by Waggies achievements, especially the role he played in the Rorke’s Drift test match. 

"As I did my detailed research for the book, I came to realise just how important the roles played by all six of Huddersfield’s representatives in the tour squad actually were. 

"I learned about the dubious motives of the New South Wales League regarding the rescheduling of the test match dates, and the infamous telegram to the Northern Union to force the tourists to play  four games (including three tests) in eight days. 

"Added to the intrigue on and off the pitch in Australia, Europe was drifting towards the onset of the Great War which meant that the squad would face a perilous journey home."

But this no ordinary historical account of the facts as Bryn explains "I knew from the outset that I didn’t want to just write a book about what happened when and where. I wanted to explore and develop the characters central to the story and how they dealt with the challenges they confronted. 

"The more I read about Harold Wagstaff and the achievements of the Huddersfield team, the prouder I became. In this book I hope to draw people’s attention to just how much my club – my team  - had contributed to not only to the way the game is played but also the success of our national side.

Far too many people within the sport are quick to criticise both our town and our club and question our ‘right’ to be in the elite level of the sport. I am proud to be born and bred in Fartown and in writing this book I hope to raise the profile of our great club and put the record straight.’

If you would like to order a copy of Bryn’s book ‘Backs to the Wall’ it is available on Amazon or you can contact the author direct by email at brynsue@hotmail.co.uk or via facebook. The book is priced at £12.95 and if you order direct from Bryn quoting ‘Fartown supporter’ Bryn will donate £3 to the Huddersfield Squadbuilder fund. For local orders Bryn will deliver to your home or postage can be arranged at cost.