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16 March 2021

We have been greatly saddened to learn of the death at the weekend of our former prop-forward Bernard Scott, and on behalf of everyone associated with Swinton RLFC, we would like to pass on our heartfelt condolences to Bernard’s family and many friends.

We are indebted to Bernard’s nephew, Tom Scott, for the following magnificent summary of his uncle’s career in rugby league:-


Bernard attended Snapethorpe school in Lupset, Wakefield and was a regular in the school rugby league team which was known for producing top level players such as Wakefield Trinity legend Harold Poynton who was in the same class as Bernard’s older brother Dennis. With a strong competitive spirit, natural ball skills, and the heart of a lion, it wasn’t long before Yorkshire Schoolboys were to recognise Bernard’s potential and offer him a place on the team as scrum half. He was to play for YSB between the ages of 14-15 as he enthusiastically set about crafting his game.


Bernard joined Shaw Cross Boys Club in 1957 and quickly became a key player at the local amateur club which was renowned for producing a steady stream of talented players. Scouts from numerous professional teams were always in attendance at Shaw Cross in search of the future stars of the game and this is where his first professional club, Halifax RLFC picked up his services in 1961 when he was aged 19. This was the break that Bernard was looking for and an opportunity to show his skills at the highest levels of the game.

HALIFAX RLFC – Heritage Number 717

Bernard joined the club from Shaw Cross in 1961 and stayed until 1966. Several other players signed from Shaw Cross around that time, including Barney Hardcastle, Stuart Kelley, Barrie Cooper, and Trevor Stevenson. His signing-on fee was £500. They came to training together every Tuesday and Thursday night on a minibus that the club put on for them. They all became very good friends. During his playing career at Halifax he made 65 appearances in total, all at prop, scoring 5 tries. His debut was on 30th September, 1961, at Hull KR, soon after signing. It was notable that this was also the debut game of a 17 year old Colin Dixon who had joined from Welsh Rugby Union. His last match was at Keighley on 3rd September, 1966. Bernard played at the same time as fellow-greats of the game Ken Roberts, and Jack Scroby. Halifax were one of the top sides in the period, winning several trophies. Bernard was in the team for the final of the Eastern Region competition in 1965, a long-defunct yet very significant competition. Bernard played in the 1964/65 championship winning side and although he missed out on the championship final, equivalent of the current Grand Final. He was to play in most of the earlier rounds.

He loved his playing days at Halifax and formed a strong bond with the many elite players that performed for the club in one of its greatest eras in the early sixties. He was proud to have played alongside Colin Dixon and Terry Michael who had both joined Halifax to gain opportunities that were not available to them in those times in Welsh Rugby Union. They became good friends and Colin was made welcome at the family home in Wakefield on many occasions. Bernard’s reputation as a tough, uncompromising prop with excellent ball handling skills attracted the interest of Swinton in 1966 when they made a very substantial offer of £2000 for his services. He did not really want to leave, but the Halifax board of directors had decided the offer was too much to refuse at a time when finances were beginning to come under pressure. He met his wife to be, June, during his time at Halifax and he always looked back on this period of his playing career with great fondness. He continued to meet up with his pals at the many players reunions that he attended long after his playing career ended.

SWINTON RLFC – Heritage Number 546

Bernard Scott was in the prime of his career when he signed for the Lions in 1966 from Halifax for the large fee of £2000 (equivalent of about £37500 in today’s money). He made his debut on 9th September 1966 in a 25-4 win at Widnes, when he also scored a try. In all, he made 93 first team appearances for the club and scored 5 tries. One of the most prestigious games he played in for Swinton was against Castleford in the final of the 1966 BBC2 Floodlit Cup, which Swinton were to lose 7-2. It should be noted that during this period Bernard had a young family back at home in Ossett and he worked during the day as an engineer. Travelling across the Pennines in those days for training on an evening and game days, before the M62 had been built, was a remarkable dedication to one of the toughest sports on earth. Typically, Bernard was manfully up to the challenge! As it was so difficult and not always possible to travel to away games in these times for both players and fans, the players would also play regularly in the “A” team in a home fixture and these teams were therefore perhaps much stronger than the teams of today. During the 60’s “A” team fixtures were highly competitive and commanded big crowds. Bernard continued to perform at the highest level throughout his career at Station Road until knee injuries began to take their toll and he finally retired from top level rugby league in 1972. However, he would continue his passion for the game by playing and being involved with his hometown amateur club of Ossett. Bernard played for 6 years at the club in his specialist position as prop before finally retiring in 1972 having had a long and successful playing career.

The joint records provided by Halifax and Swinton club historians show that Bernard made a total of 158 first team appearances with most, if not all, in the very toughest of positions as prop forward. Participating in the most uncompromising and challenging of sports, Bernard faced up to some of the hardest men ever to play the great game of rugby league.


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