Scott Taylor turns back the clock and discusses his upbringing in the latest Back To My Roots feature…
FC: First of all, take us back to where it all started and where you grew up as a kid.
“My first home was down Howdale Road near Sutton. We moved around quite a bit with my mum and dad, predominantly in the East Hull area. A big Black & White family living in the east side of the city, there was always a bit of stuff going backwards and forwards! So rugby league has been a big part of my life even from a young age.
“I lived around there until I was about 11 or 12 and at that point my mum and dad had just split up. At the age of 12 I moved with my dad to live in Beverley and that’s where I grew up to be older.”
FC: Living in East Hull in your early childhood, were there people in your friendship group who were Hull KR fans?
“There were one or two, but all of my close mates growing up were predominantly Hull FC fans, so that made it a bit easier! It was more at Skirlaugh Bulls there was a split where half supported Hull KR and the other half supported FC. There would be a lot of banter and lads getting into each other.”
FC: When your parents split up at such a young age, do you feel that made you mature and appreciate the little things in life that bit more?
“It’s a difficult one. My sister is always better at answering questions like that than me! I was a lot younger so I didn’t understand it as much at the time because I was 7, so I just went with the flow and kind of did as I was told.
“I definitely think it made me stronger. One thing it certainly did was make me have a really special relationship with my sister. She’s four years older than me, so she really looked out for me and helped me. She’s probably my best mate and we talk every day, so the split brought us even closer together.
“Everything happens for a reason and it’s moulded me into the person that I am today. If anything, it’s taught me to do what’s right for you. If something’s not right for you then you shouldn’t do it and I think that experience taught me a lot.”
FC: Do you think that maturity has rubbed off on you down the years?
“Yeah, definitely. When I moved out with my dad at 12, there was me, him and my granddad. So there were three men in the house and my dad will admit he’s not the best at cooking, washing up or ironing but he gave it a go. And it made me learn how to look after myself, as well! I love my cooking and I got involved with a mate who taught me how to cook properly from a young age, so those little things did rub off on me. I’m really happy with the relationship I have with my family and the things they taught me.”
FC: You mentioned the relationship you have with your sister. What are some of your favourite memories with her?
“Actually growing up, we used to fight and argue a lot. But when I turned 12, I went to live with my dad and my sister stayed with my mum so I think that split was the start of bringing us really close together.
“I remember when she went off to university in Huddersfield and we used to write to each other, keeping each other up to date with what we were doing.
“More recently, some of the best memories I have with my sister is seeing what a great mum she is. I am an uncle to a niece and nephew and I’ve had some great memories at a young age with them already, whether it’s been days out, birthdays or Christmases.
“She’s been showing me the way and teaching me, ready for when I get to have children!”
FC: Going back to your school days, what school were you at and what were you like as a kid?
“I joined David Lister School in Year 7, and that made me grow up a bit because a month or two after starting there, I had gone to live with my dad in Beverley and I couldn’t get transferred to a school there until Year 8.
“So for a good six to eight months I was getting up early in the morning in Beverley at 5:30 with my dad, go through to Hull with him to his work, then I would push bike from where he worked to David Lister School.
“I’d do my day at school, push bike back to his work and then went back to Beverley with him. Or if I had training with Skirlaugh, I would push bike to one of my team mate’s houses and then my dad would come and get me after the session and take me back to Beverley.
“So it was a tough six to eight months, getting up early and not getting home until late.
“But at the end of Year 7, I had to leave all of my mates behind and I started at Longcroft in Beverley.
“It was tough at first because I was a bit of an outsider. I was new to Beverley and I was new to the school – it was the first time I had been somewhere and I didn’t have an idea of who anyone was. After a few months I settled in and ended up having some of my best four or five years at Longcroft.
“I’ve got four or five friends from school who I’m still in a WhatsApp group chat with now and we see each other whenever we can – obviously it’s not as easy with the pandemic going on at the moment.
“I wasn’t the best behaved kid! I think because that year I did at David Lister you could get away with a lot more. I went from wearing black trackies and a jumper in Year 7 at David Lister to having to wear a suit, a tie, shoes polished and my top button done up at Longcroft!
“It was an eye-opener for me but it probably disciplined me and put me in line. If I didn’t do that then who knows where I would be today? It was a good life lesson for me but I really enjoyed it.”
FC: It’s really common for rugby players to tell tales of how naughty they were as schoolboys. At what point does the buck stop and you become a mature, disciplined professional?
“I remember I got into a bit of trouble in Year 10. I had a chat with my dad and my step-mum at the time they just said to me “I know you’ve got one more year of secondary school left and how much you want to be a rugby player” and at the time I wasn’t signed up to anyone, so they probably thought I wasn’t going to make it as a rugby player.
“I think it was in Year 11 that I started playing really well and actually ended up getting signed up by somebody. So we sat down and they told me to have a really good crack at it, get my GCSEs and that will take me onto the next chapter in my life.
“I ended up passing all of my GCSEs – I got A* to C in every single one. Then I started doing my A Levels. I picked my four subjects and carried on into sixth form and it was about six months into doing them that I signed for the first team with Hull KR and I had to stop doing my A Levels.”
FC: Moving onto the rugby, can you tell us some of your fondest memories playing for Skirlaugh?
“I think they were some of the best memories of my childhood when I look back on them now. I used to be absolutely covered in thick mud from head to toe. My mum used to come and pick me up with tons of sheets in the back of the car so I wouldn’t get mud all over the place. I just absolutely loved it!
“My closest friend, Jack Aldous, who actually played at a high level of rugby league for the rest of his career, played at Skirlaugh too. His dad, Steve, and another guy called Paul coached us for ten years, right from the age of 6 up to 16 and 17.
“I just remember always getting grafted and being really mischievous. It’s what childhood should be about when you’re playing a sport you love. It should be fun, fun, fun. You should be excited to go there. Even if you’d had a tough day at school, you’d be like “get in there, I’ve got rugby training tonight!”
“As you get older, you’d get to go on some of the longer away trips in the Yorkshire league on the bus. Just being a part of a big team was outstanding and I have got some really good memories from that whole experience.”
FC: You mentioned the two coaches who were with you for ten years. How important are people like that for the sport at that level?
“They are absolutely massive. I think in a rugby player’s career, those coaches could be the most important out of them all. I couldn’t speak highly enough of them. The time they give and the work they put in is unbelievable.
“When I was head coach of Beverley for four years, the extra time you put in planning sessions is mental!
“For them to give up the chance to go on holiday because they would rather coach the kids just shows the level of commitment they have.
“I think one of the big things the coaches do is they help you mature and turn into an adult. They are more than a rugby coach – I think they become like your second dad.
“Those kind of people are massive for the game and without them I think we would be gone.”
FC: Before you started playing professionally, you were a season pass holder with Hull FC. Do you remember going to your first game?
“I remember going to The Boulevard and I think I had Hitro Okesene on the back of my first shirt. And the reason behind it was because my dad fixed his car, so he said I could have him on the back of my shirt!
“I remember standing behind the sticks of the side Hull FC were attacking, and in those days you could walk to the other side. So at half time we started walking, and at such a young age I remember asking where we were going! But we were just going round to the sticks at the other side so we could see Hull FC attacking in the second half, as well!
“I loved the whole thing about it. It was like a day out and it would be the only time I got to see my aunties and uncles. It was like one big family day out and I got to watch the rugby at the same time so I loved it.
“One thing I always remember from The Boulevard was going to watch the last game there against the Kiwis and watching them doing the Haka.
“As a kid your eyes opened and you just thought to yourself “wow, this is brilliant!”
FC: And you were still a season pass holder after the move to the KCOM Stadium. Are there any memories that stand out like a sore thumb?
“One game that I do remember – and you’ll laugh about this one – was when I put a couple of quid on Danny Washbrook as first try scorer at about 33/1!
“I remember him scoring first in the match and I’d put a couple of quid on him. I still don’t think I’ve told him to this day, but I think I’ll get quiet on that one otherwise he’ll be after some coffees from me!
“I also remember Nathan Blacklock scoring a funny try. I can’t remember who it was against, but I always remember him being a try scoring machine. This one time he took an interception and ran 100 metres. In the last ten metres he turned around and jogged backwards over the try line. He was a guy I always used to enjoy watching.”
Want more? Click here to watch more of the interview with Scott Taylor on his upbringing and early rugby memories.