Decent turn out yesterday for Monty Denton's Funeral, old faces turned up such as Darrell Hanslip, Ronnie Dobson, James Halley, David Hall, David Stanger, David Hall, Roger Hallas along with Kelvin Lockett, Fred & Joe Berry, Nick Simpson, Andy & Meakin, John Exley, Terry & Audrey Hunt.
Monty died aged 75 on Tuesday 17th December 2013.
Monty played, coached and supported all his adult life, Rugby League was his chosen sport and he was involved with Bradford Dudley Hill RLFC since 1955, when he first played for the club with his younger brother Cameron.
He played for a couple of seasons and then left to play a year at Wyke, before re joining Bradford Dudley Hill, where he was involved for the next 30/40 years first as a player, then later as the first second team coach the club ever had, he then went on to a junior coach, where I believe he did his best work, bringing on dozens of junior players who either went on to play at open age level for the club or went into the Professional game at local Championship clubs.
Senior players Monty would have known then in the early days included any Dudley Hill legends Bernard Dotchin, Vinny Heslop, Clifford Turnpenny and Rodger Burnham, who is the only only still living, all former life members and part of the fabric that became Dudley Hill, the old guard of the club.
from the first day I set foot in the De Lacy Dressing rooms in 1973 as an 18 year old rookie, along with Paul Jarvis and Eric Tyman, Monty was always there, to give encouragement, support and on field guidance. Players around at that time included David Hogg, Ronnie Dobson, Rudi Francis, Barry Taylor, Darrell Hanslip, Ian Dickinson, Roger Hallas, Alan & Ronnie spencer, and Ian Reed. again lots of them Life Members of the club who all contributed to the development of what would become in the 80s the best club side in the country.
along the way, we attracted better players and developed a few of our own and Monty was integral to that development, we also attracted a few big name coaches! such as GB coach Maurice Bamford, Bradford Northern Legend, Albert Fearnley, former GB centre Ian Brook and later former test hooker Tony Fisher and Peter Roe, however it was local Dewsbury builder Ken Audsley who was to claim the first Cup when he his side won the Pennines & Bradford Cups in 1980. Key players in this era were the likes of Geoff Greenwood, Stan Seaman, David Flaherty, Tony Harriman, Tony Harriman, graham Needham, John Exley, David Cholmondley, and Alan McCurly, while all the time Monty was helping along with Kelvin Lockett and myself the youngsters coming through such as Gary Callaghan, Phill Helliwell, Sean Sarsfeild, David Hall, Greame and Gary Hallas, Tordoff, David Stanger, Barry Greenwood, Paul Cotter, Darren Murphy, Richard Whatmough, Andy & Stuart Dawes, all went on to represent the first team and many even went on to gain representative honours, while other went on further and clinched professional contracts such as Mick Hawksworth, David Turpin! Darren Webb, Phil Helliwell, Andy Meakin, Ian McLean, Greame Hallas who went on to tour Australia with the GB Lions, around this time Monty was focusing his energies along with his old mate Kelvin Lockett who also turned into a first class coach.
Back to the late 70s, when there was a tragedy that was to really rock the foundations of the club, in that during the running of a junior U16s game at our home ground on Law Street on a Sunday morning in November 1976, Neil Hunt . One of our most promising junior players, who had only played the day before for the first team with Monty and myself was to fracture his spinal cord, he was sushed to hospital, but died as result of his injury, this was a major tragedy that tested the resolve of all at the club including Monty, however after a period of time, it was decided that the club would set a target with Neil as the catalyst to develop their own facility on Parry Lane, this was achieved when on Saturday 1st September 1979 Bradford Dudley Hill christened Thierry new ground the Neil Hunt memorial ground, Monty playing in one of his last ever games as that day we met old rivals are Reckets of Hull.
However it was in the early 80s that the club finally hit the big time, developing a great side, built on junior development and with top players, many Internationals such as Mark Todd, Adrian Collett, Bob Jowett, Steve Laws, Barry Holden, Gary Preistley, Kevin Butcher, Andy Meakin, and one of Monty's favourite all time half backs Albert Hannah and Club Captain Andy Harland, this team went on to win a number of trophies including the BARLA National Cup at Blackpool, we also attracted a Dewsbury Celtic legend to coach the team in mick Doyle who was to later bring along a couple of top players Andy Ellis (aka Pele) and Danny Lockwood a great goal kicker and try scorer, at this time Monty was doing a vital role for the team watching the oppersition we were to play and noting down any weaknesses they may have and feeding that info mention back to the Coach, this was a vital role in the success of the team, as well as coaching the youngsters with Kelvin on Sunday mornings! a new wave of players and began to drift into the club in the late 80swhen top local players such as Kevin Whiteley, Ray Priestley, John Pitts, Gary Brentley, Jason Lee, all were to play huge roles in the club success.
The club were riding high, joining the new Conference League in 1986/87 as one of the 10 elite teams selected to play in the first season, further honours were to follow, with great performances against top Professional teams such as Hull FC in the RL challenge cup when we lost to a top Hull FC team which incliuded 15 full International players, other games we players against professional teams were Dewsbury in the Regal trophy and Keighley Cougars, we also rocked the RL world when we beat York away in the Challenge Cup, coached by Kelvin Lockett who took over from Peter Roe's NC Championship winning team, we drew Workington away in the next round and were beaten, a further chance was lost when we played in the BARLA National cup final at Salford key players around this time were the likes of Craig and Chris Robinson, Paul Baxter, James Haley, Steve Hall, Lee Humpries, Henry sharp! Mick Keebles, Andy Kopjack, Stuart Tighe, Richard Bingley, Dean Blankley, Gordon Long, Scott Rawlinson, Monty was constant with the team at this point, his partnership with Kelvin was really hitting the straps. Churning out players year after year.
So what did Monty bring to the table, he knew his stuff, was a key student of the game, a collector, historian and his talks of former top players were infectious, as a player he had great tackle technique, he could score a try as well, and his long slow big outrageousness dummy was a treat to watch, while he had a great engine, as well as his honesty, integrity, loyalty, his at tension to detail was meticulous, he was a clear winner of individual trophies, he will be remembered for his love of dogs all seemed to be called Gemma, his Donkey jacket, his cigaret buts and Tabaco box, always staying behing to help with the kit and clear up, this says much of the man he was, he loved the game, the people who played, coached and were the lifeblood of the game at grassroots level, he was a great Sport, recognising talent and good play, the game will be poorer for his passing, however he has left a lasting legacy that will last for years,
Andy Harland - former teammate and friend....
RIP Monty Denton