William John Boston, MBE (born 6 August 1934) is a former professional rugby league footballer who played as a wing or centre. Born in Cardiff, Wales, Boston started his career as a rugby union player before joining Wigan in 1953. He spent the next 15 years at Wigan, where he scored a club-record 478 tries in his 488 appearances for the club. He finished his career at Blackpool Borough before retiring in 1970. He also represented Great Britain in 31 Test matches, and was part of the team that won the 1960 Rugby League World Cup.
|Full name||William John Boston|
|Born||6 August 1934|
Butetown, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Regarded as one of the sport's greatest ever players, Boston scored a total of 571 tries in his career, making him the second-highest try scorer in rugby league history. He is an original inductee of the British Rugby League Hall of Fame, Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and Wigan Warriors Hall of Fame, and was awarded an MBE in 1986.
Wigan were alerted to him when he was serving with the Royal Signals at Catterick, and when he made his 'A' team début a crowd of 8,000 assembled inside Central Park, Wigan. He made his first team début against Barrow in November 1953 scoring a try.
For the next fifteen seasons he was a living legend and played his final game in 1968. With Boston on the right wing and Eric Ashton playing at right-centre, Wigan had one of the best combinations in the history of the game. Both players scored doubles in Wigan's 1959–60 Northern Rugby Football League season Championship final victory. Boston had an astonishing turn of speed for a big man and had the ultimate side step and was also able to hand off opponents with apparent ease.
Boston also played 31 games for Great Britain, and was the first player to score four tries in a game against New Zealand. He was the first non-white player to be selected to tour Australia and New Zealand in 1954, on which he set a new record of 36 tries in 18 games. Boston also played in the 1962 tour, scoring a further 22 tries.
With BBC television coverage increasing in the late-1950s, armchair fans as well as terrace supporters were able to witness Billy Boston in action. He beat Johnny Ring's record of 368 tries and went on to score a record 478 for Wigan, a record that will probably never be broken. Boston also twice equalled the then Wigan club record of seven tries in game, only surpassed since by Martin Offiah and Shaun Edwards.
Billy Boston played left-centre, i.e. number 4, in Wigan's 13–9 victory over Workington Town in the 1957–58 Challenge Cup Final during the 1957–58 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 10 May 1958, in front of a crowd of 66,109 played right wing, i.e. number 2, and scored 2-tries in the 30-13 victory over Hull F.C. in the 1958–59 Challenge Cup Final during the 1958–59 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 9 May 1959, in front of a crowd of 79,811, and played right wing in the 20-16 victory over Hunslet in the 1964–65 Challenge Cup Final during the 1964–65 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 8 May 1965, in front of a crowd of 89,016.
Billy Boston played right wing, i.e. number 2, and scored a try in Wigan's 16-13 victory over Oldham in the 1957–58 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1957–58 season at Station Road, Swinton on Saturday 29 October 1966.
Billy Boston represented Other Nationalities (RL) while at Wigan, he played right-centre in the 2-19 defeat by St. Helens at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Wednesday 27 January 1965, to mark the switching-on of new floodlights.
Towards the end of his career, Boston played for Blackpool Borough, making his final appearance in 1970. He scored a total of 571 tries in his career, making him the second highest all-time try scorer in the history of the game after Brian Bevan.
Boston became one of fewer than twenty-five Welshmen to have scored more than 1,000-points in their rugby league career.
After finishing his playing career, he took over the running of the Griffin Hotel pub near Central Park until his retirement. In 1986, he was awarded an MBE for his services to the game of rugby league, and the Billy Boston Stand at Central Park was named in his honour. Similarly, the East Stand at the DW Stadium was officially renamed after Billy Boston in 2009.
- "Birth details at freebmd.org.uk". freebmd.org.uk. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Cummings, Thomas (24 February 2010). "Legends: Billy Boston". Love Rugby League. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Edgar, Harry (2007). Rugby League Journal Annual 2008 Page-110. Rugby League Journal Publishing. ISBN 0-9548355-3-0
- "RECORDS" Archived 28 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine at wiganwarriors.com
- "1957-1958 Challenge Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "1958-1959 Challenge Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "1964-1965 Challenge Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "1966–1967 Lancashire Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- Cook, H.B. (1965). Programme - St. Helens versus Other Nationalities. St. Helens Rugby F.C. Ltd.
- Robert Gate (1988). "Gone North – Volume 2". R. E. Gate. ISBN 0-9511190-3-6
- !Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk (statistics currently missing due to not having appeared for both Great Britain, and England)[dead link]
- Billy Boston Statistics at wigan.rlfans.com
- (archived by web.archive.org) Billy Boston at eraofthebiff.com
- (archived by web.archive.org) Billy Boston at Ponty.net
- (archived by web.archive.org) Billy Boston at rugbyleaguehistory.co.uk
- (archived by web.archive.org) Billy Boston at wales.rleague.com
- U.K. League Hooker in Doubt