FLASHBACK: October 1985

New Zealand arrived in England for their 11th tour of the northern hemisphere.

They opened with a 14-8 loss to Wigan at Central Park, a match played in torrential rain before a crowd of 12,856.

The Kiwis won the next three matches leading up to the First Test at Headingley, Leeds on October 19.

First they accounted for Great Britain under-21s 16-12 at Bradford, with Hull forward, Gary Divorty the home side’s man of the match.

Australian, John Dorahy landed three goals in Hull Kingston Rovers’ 20-10 loss to New Zealand, while the Kiwis’ second string side romped to a 32-6 win over Cumbria at Whitehaven in the fourth match of the tour.

The stage was set for a gripping First Test, with controversial Australian referee, Barry Gomersall appointed control all three Tests in Britain.

Britain led 22-18 with only eight minutes to go after winger, Joe Lydon finished a length of the field move to score a memorable try.

The Kiwis refused to surrender, and prop, Kurt Sorensen burst through the ruck to send the supporting James Leuluai over by the posts, for Olsen Filipaina to land his second goal from five shots and secure victory.

New Zealand had led 14-12 at halftime, with skipper, Mark Graham inspiring the tourists with a towering performance which brought three tries in 19 minutes, berfore a superb individual try by British centre, Ellery Hanley closed the gap.

Lock and skipper, Harry Pinner from St Helens was Britain’s man of the match.

The Kiwis played three more matches before the end of the month, losing 18-8 to Yorkshire at Bradford, but beating St Helens 46-8 and Leeds 16-10.

The win over Saints was the biggest on record by the Kiwis in the UK, and Saints were close to full strength, including Australian imports Phil Veivers, Ross Conlon, Gary Grienke and Brett French.

The Kiwis were booed by the fans at Headingley after a brutal match, which saw two Leeds’ players carried from the field on stretchers. NZ winger, Mac Bourneville from the Mt Albert club in Auckland was sent off by referee, Jim Smith from Halifax after David Creaser was felled in an off-the-ball incident.

<Pic>1985 Kiwi tour skipper, Mark Graham, with James Leuluai in the background.


Leave a comment or reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s