This film is part of Free

Another Bloody Sunday

Move over Spinal Tap, there is no need for parody in this superb documentary of a Doncaster Rugby League team, and loyal followers, that turns out every Sunday for a ritual beating.

Documentary 1981 53 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


A stony-faced Tom Morton, General Manager of Doncaster Rugby League team, has just received a copy of the Guinness Book of Records. His team now has an entry for most games without a win. What follows in Barry Cockcroft’s wonderful portrait of the club’s last four fixtures of the 1981 season is a mixture of the bleak, the poignant and the hilarious. The scattered devoted few at the aptly named Tattersfield watch as Doncaster and Hull legend Tony Banham finally comes up trumps.

This is one of a series of programmes, Once in a Lifetime, put out by Yorkshire Television during the 1970s and ‘80s, mostly directed and produced by Barry Cockcroft, best known for his four films about Pennine recluse Hannah Hauxwell. From its founding as a professional rugby league club in 1951, Doncaster has mostly struggled in the lower regions of the leagues, but surprisingly didn’t finish bottom the season in which this was filmed; the team they eventually beat, Huyton, did. Undoubtedly the star of the film is Tony Banham, a giant man who amiably brushed off the racist abuse he received (well, sometimes), who also played and coached in Hull, as well as being a bouncer and running a pub on Hessle Road.