Vale – David Bolton

Born: 27 April 1937
Passed Away: 21 January 2021

Men of League Foundation Member #258

David Bolton is one of the few rugby league players to win major trophies in both England and Australia. He played 300 games and scored 386 points with the Wigan club in 11 seasons from 1954 to 1964 and then in Australia, he made 78 appearances for the Balmain Tigers, scoring 71 points in six seasons from 1965. With Wigan, Bolton was a member of two Challenge Cup winning teams (1958 and 1959), as well as the championship winning side of 1960. In Sydney with the Tigers, he played strongly with the 1969 team which beat South Sydney 11-2 in the Grand Final. Bolton was awarded the Clive Churchill medal for his efforts in the 1969 decider.

David Bolton made his debut with Wigan on 4 September 1954 against Keighley at Wigan and collected two tries in the 44-2 win. The first of his 23 Tests for Great Britain was against France at Leeds on 26 January 1957 and he was one of the try scorers in the 45-12 victory. He first played a Test against Australia in the 22-14 loss at Swinton on 17 October 1959. Altogether, he played 10 against France, eight against Australia and five with New Zealand. He scored nine Test tries and was on the winning side in nine of the matches. Bolton was five eighth in all of his Tests, with the mercurial Alex Murphy his halfback in 10 of these. Jeff Stevenson partnered him in eight Tests, Tommy Smales two and Frank Pitchford, Harold Poynton and Mick Sullivan one each.

On the 1962 Great Britain tour of Australia and New Zealand, David Bolton played 12 of the 30 games and scored three tries. He shone in the tourists 31-12 win over Australia in the first Test at the SCG on 9 June 1962 but was injured and did not feature in the other Tests. Australians won’t forget his final Test in a hurry. It was in the 16-5 win over the Kangaroos at Leeds on 30 November 1963.

After retiring, Bolton coached the Parramatta Eels in 1973 and 1974, while in the 1980s, was an assistant coach to Tim Sheens at Penrith. He passed away in a Penrith nursing home in the early hours of Wednesday morning, 21 January, aged 83.

Dave is survived by his wife of 27 years, Christine, children David, Tina and Catherine, along with grandsons Liam, Joshua and Will.

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