It was a pleasant spring evening on Tuesday 15th April 1969 – I was 11 years old and, along with several school-mates, headed to Crown Flatt to see Dewsbury take on fierce rivals Batley.
The outcome of the game was victory for Dewsbury by eight points to seven.
It is amazing that over the decades games between the Heavy Woollen rivals have always been close-fought affairs – one sided contests conspicuous by their absence.
So, after a Dewsbury win, why was there sadness?
During the game John Davies made a break for Dewsbury, but he went to ground in a collapsed state.
He was carried off and the tannoy called for the assistance of a doctor.
The game ended and I don’t think anybody of a Red, Amber and Black persuasion was prepared for the news that unfolded the following morning.
I remember my dad coming into my bedroom and telling me that a Dewsbury player had died.
It transpired that John Davies had suffered a major heart attack and, despite being taken to hospital from the ground, he had passed away.
I remember feeling so sad. When you are a kid it never occurs to you that you will go to a game and a player from the team you support will die.
Dewsbury legend Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson played in that game and was in close proximity to John Davies when he collapsed.
Stevo described the moment as his worst experience because he knew that John Davies “had gone” and said he found it difficult playing out the rest of the game while John was on his way to hospital.
So, what do we know of John Davies?
He was actually an excellent rugby player in both codes.
He was born in the South Wales town of Neath in 1941 and played for his home town rugby union club. Indeed, in 1962 he was capped for Wales against Ireland.
After achieving international status as a rugby union player he crossed codes and signed for Leeds.
His move to Headingley saw him become a PE teacher at Foxwood School in Seacroft.
After seven years in blue and amber he was transferred to Dewsbury, and he made an immediate impression on the Crown Flatt faithful.
John Davies was just 28-years-old when he died – absolutely tragic.
A few months later this sad affair prompted my first ever visit to Headingley.
A benefit match for his family was arranged with his former club Leeds taking on a combined Dewsbury/Batley team.
Myself and the same friends who had been at the game when John Davies died took our place in the South Stand at Leeds.
I remember being in awe of the fact that I was the other side of the stand from the famous cricket ground.
Of all the things that happen in life, the emotions of that game at Crown Flatt and subsequent events have stayed with me ever since.