William 'Billy' Batten

Inducted into the Hall of Fame - 1988


Born: Kinsley, West Yorkshire


Position: Centre


Career Dates: 1907-27


Clubs: Hunslet, Hull, Wakefield, Castleford


Billy was an English rugby league footballer of the early 20th century.


He played at Wing, and Centre for Hunslet, Hull, England and Great Britain. He was one of rugby league's first superstars. He was a brilliant athlete and a huge crowd-puller.


Born in the Yorkshire mining village of Kinsley, near Fitzwilliam, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Batten joined Hunslet at the age of 17 and helped the club win all four cups in 1907-08.


He was also a member of the first touring team to travel to Australasia under the leadership of James Lomas in 1910. He was later to decline the opportunity to tour again with Britain in 1914 for "business reasons".


Such was his popularity that Hull would print "Batten certain to play" over posters advertising their home games at The Boulevard. His benefit match in 1920 reaped an incredible £1,079 13s 8d. (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £141,000 in 2007). To put that in context Alex Murphy, one of the game's true legends, raised approximately £2,000 in his "phenomenally successful testimonial year" almost 50 years later.