FORMER York RL chairman John Stabler today paid tribute to club legend Vic Yorke.

Prolific points-scoring forward Yorke died earlier this week at the age of 75, as reported in The Press, and a funeral was held at York Crematorium yesterday.

Prop-forward Yorke played 362 games for his hometown club between April 1954 and November 1966, kicking a club record 1,060 goals and scoring a record 2,159 points.

His record of 301 points in a season was bettered by Graham Steadman, who scored 318 points in 1984/5, and his record of 146 goals in a season was broken by Danny Brough, who kicked 174 goals in 2004.

As well as his record-breaking feats with York, Yorke also played for Yorkshire three times in 1958 and 1959, while also turning out for a Rugby League XIII against France in 1958.

Stabler, who was a director from 1986 to 1997, said: “It was with great sadness that I read of the passing of the York legend Vic Yorke.

“Vic was in his early years with York RL when I first used to go down to Clarence Street in the mid-1950s when I was a young boy of ten or 11.

“We had a very good side in those days. A very good crop of local players had all come through together, Baz Watts, Bill Riley, Edgar Dawson, Willie Hargreaves to name just a few and, of course, Vic Yorke.

“Vic was a big lad with a lot of ‘go forward’, a good tackler and good with his hands for such a big man, but Vic will always be remembered most for his goalkicking exploits.

“They played with a leather ball back then, which got very heavy when wet and muddy, also Vic didn’t have the benefit of a kicking tee.

“Vic lost his goals kicked in a season record for York to Danny Brough, but really it is unlikely Danny would have had the same success in the conditions that Vic had to operate in.

“So, for me, Vic Yorke was and still is and always will be the best kicker of goals that York RL has ever had.”

Stabler met York in 1989 and was struck by how down to earth he was.

“I met Vic for the first time at the Last Game At Clarence Street celebrations in March 1989,” he said.

“I found him a quiet, shy, unassuming man, not at all what I had expected.

“He will be missed, but he will always be talked about by those who saw him play and especially by those former colleagues who survive him.”

Club historian Stuart Evans said: “I was at the game when he kicked his 1,000th goal. If there was a York hall of fame, I would definitely put Vic in there.

“He was a wonderful prop in the engine room.

“In those days, the forwards did the grafting and the backs did the scoring, but he did both. He got recognition when he was named in the Rugby League XIII against France, which was a great achievement for a York player.”

York City Knights will hold a minute’s silence for Yorke ahead of tomorrow’s Huntington Stadium game against Hunslet Hawks – the opponents for his debut in 1954.

General manager Ian Wilson said: “Vic will always be remembered as one of York’s finest ever players. He was a York legend and we would like to offer our condolences to his family.”

Vic Yorke file

Born: York

Position: prop forward

Debut: v Hunslet at Clarence Street, April 19, 1954 - last game of the 1953/4 season

First goal: v Hull KR at Craven Park, August 23, 1954

Last game: v Hull at Clarence Street, November 19, 1966

Career: York – 362 appearances between 1954 and 1966. Scored 13 tries and kicked 1,060 goals. Represented Yorkshire and a Rugby League XIII.


Most points in a career: 2,159 (1954-67) – still stands

Most goals in a career: 1,060 (1954-67) – still stands

Most points in a season: 301 (1957/8)

Most goals in a season: 146 (1957/8)

Most goals in a game: 11 v Whitehaven, September 6, 1958