FLASHBACK: October 1959

AUSTRALIAN players were punched by spectators as they left the field following a tour match against English club side, Oldham at the famous old Watersheddings Ground.
One played retaliated with a blow that sent a man flying, while non-playing coach, Clive Churchill was threatened by police with arrest after small boys pelted some of Australia’s bench players with orange peel.
Churchill, who had coached Norths in Brisbane in 1959, threw water from a sponge back over his shoulder into the crowd.
A policeman spoke to Churchill, then the superintendent in charge called manager, Jack Argent and warned that the coach could be arrested for inciting the crowd if he repeated the act.
The English Sunday newspapers had a field day criticising the violence of the day.
“Rugby took a back seat as the crowd roared or jeered and stomped at scenes that looked like extracts from television wild west brawls,” wrote the Sunday Express.
Australian, Barry Muir was sent off along with rival halfback, Frank Pitchford.
Referee, Charlie Appleton said both sides were equally to blame for the mayhem.
“What annoys me is that they all shake hands at the end, leaving me to hold the baby,” he said.
Australia won 25-14.

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