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Val Cumberbatch

The original caption in The Times of 12 April 1937 reads: "Englands Victory - Cumberbatch the English three-quarter, getting away with the ball in the Rugby League international match between England and France at Halifax. England won by 23 points to 9."

France were ahead 9 points to 7 at half-time. [The Times 12 April 1937 page 18 (photo) & page 6 Col. C (match report).

Val Cumberbatch's father Barrie still has the shirt and badge worn by his grandfather  Val during this match.

Barrow's First Wembley Cup Final

Barrow's First Wembley Cup Final

 
SALFORD (4) 7    4 (2) BARROW

 
Saturday May 7th 1938
Salford Barrow
H. Osbaldestin F. French
B. Hudson V. Cumberbatch
R. Brown J. Higgin
A. Gear D. McDonnell
A.S. Edwards J. Thornburrow
A.J. Risman L. Lloyd
W. Watkins W. Little
H.A. Williams G.A. Rawlings
H.C. Day D. McKeating
D.M. Davies W.J. Skelly
H. Thomas L.A. Troup
P. Dalton R. Ayres
J. Feetham A.E. Marklew

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Tries:  Gear 
Goals:   French
Drop Goals:   Little

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Referee: F. Peel (Bradford)
Attendance: 51,243
Receipts: 7,474
Cup Presented by Donald Bradman, the Australian Test batsman

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MATCH REPORT

The strength and superb tactics of the Barrow forwards dominated a game that many described as the worst ever seen at Wembley. Barrow's strategy was simple - they had to control and contain the game with their mighty pack and do their utmost to throw the clever and confident Salford back division out of gear. The Barrow pack monopolised the ball in the first half so successfully that, to some extent, they spoilt the match as spectacle and little was seen of the finer points of the game. The full-backs on each side handled well but were guilty of some very poor, almost aimless kicking for touch, and only very rarely did they start a passing movement. French, the Barrow full-back, handled faultlessly but constantly kicked into touch on the full. One newspaper was scathing in its criticism of the match: 'The game was smash and grab, crash and bang, ten yards run, tackle and play the ball and hardly one concerted movement.'

The showpiece started with a very poor attempt at goal from Gus Risman, following a penalty against Barrow. After eight minutes play Fred French put Barrow ahead from a successful penalty-kick.

Gus Risman put Salford on level terms with a penalty-goal and on the half-hour collected a loose ball well and made himself the space and time to drop a good goal to put the Reds in front.

For the first 30 minutes of the second half, each side attacked furiously but incoherently. Barrow had the best of the play but were unable to score and missed one of the best chances of the game when Cumberbatch was stopped, despite two Salford players lying injured on the ground. With 14 minutes to play, Billy Little collected the ball from a scrum on the Salford '25' and dropped a brilliant goal with his left foot.

The surprise score was the catalyst for a tremendous burst of play from each side and with about a minute remaining, Barrow were penalised on the half-way line. Risman found touch ten yards from the Barrow line with a long, raking kick. One account describes the last few dramatic moments of the game: 'Five or six men jumped for the ball when it came out of the scrum, and there was a fine confused melee, in the course of which it was fumbled and juggled across the field in front of the Barrow goal posts until, finally, Gear dashed in, took the ball on the bounce, forced his way past two tacklers, and threw himself over the line with three man hanging on to him.'

The goal-kick was missed but the try was enough, for there was not even enough time left to restart the game.

Details kindly provided by Lee Cumberbatch grandson of Val Cumberbatch.

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