On this Throwback Thursday, Club Historian Bill Dalton celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Greatest Try scoring feat by a Hull Forward, when Bob Taylor scored six tries in one game in 1921.
The period following the First World War was a particularly successful one for Hull FC. Northern Union Football had resumed in January 1919 on county lines and Hull brought immediate success to the Boulevard by winning the Yorkshire League with 13 victories from 16 fixtures – a success ratio of 81.25%.
The resumption of the normal league competition resumed in September 1920 and Hull attained the runners-up place in the league table, second only to the “Team of all the Talents” Huddersfield, who had, themselves won all four cups in the last season before hostilities halted operations.
However, a notable signing was made when Robert (Bob) Taylor came to the Boulevard. Bob had made 56 appearances for his native Barrow from December 1909 to war breaking out.
He didn’t return to Barrow after the war, but instead joined Hull in January 1920, immediately making his mark as a try-scoring second-rower. He was a little over 6ft tall, weighed over 15st and to all intents would give the impression of a journey-man forward.
He was anything but, because he had so much power in his legs when in possession of the ball that he was a fearsome sight to defenders throughout the league.
He touched down for 11 tries in his 17 appearances in that initial season. He was a vital instrument in securing the Championship in beating Huddersfield in the final, and again when Hull retained the Championship in May 1921, contributing a brace of tries in the final victory over Hull KR.
He went on to play in the unsuccessful Challenge Cup Finals in 1922 & 1923, scoring a Try in the first against Rochdale. He also helped Hull to win the Yorkshire Cup for the first time in November 1923, again overcoming Huddersfield in the final.
Bob registered another 20 tries in 35 appearances in the 1920-21 season, but the high-water mark of his season was his efforts in a 69-11 drubbing of Wakefield Trinity on 15th January 1921 at the Boulevard. Bob scored six tries from a total of 15 by the team as a whole. He became the first forward to exceed three tries in a match and, apart from Harold Garratt in April 1922 equalling Bob’s tally, no other forward had scored more than four.
Bob Taylor was a forward try-scoring phenomenon in Hull’s colours and he remains Hull’s highest scoring forward, registering 164 tries in the 309 games of his Boulevard career. That tally pitches him in 5th place in Hull’s all-time try-scorers.
In the 1925-26 season he created a World Record for tries in a season by a forward (32). That was not surpassed until 1970-71 when Bob Haigh notched 40 for Leeds.
Bob’s try-scoring deeds were equally apparent in Representative Football as he scored a try in each of two test matches, against Australia in 1921 and New Zealand in 1926. There have only been 4 of Hull’s players ever to play for Lancashire in the County Championship and Bob scored three tries in his four county appearances.
Off the field, he worked for Jacksons Bakery and he was an exceedingly popular man throughout the city. He returned to Barrow in 1930 but played just three games before bringing his career to a close.
It was a mark of the respect for Bob that when George Matthews joined Hull from Barrow Junior Rugby League in 1958, the often most question to him was “Do you know Bob Taylor?”