Wednesday, December 21, 2005

History of St Helens Rugby League Club

1873-1899
1873
Nov 19, St. Helens RFC formed at the Fleece Hotel by William Douglas Herman
1890
Sep 6, Saints defeat Manchester Rangers in the first match played at Knowsley Road
1895
Aug 29, St. Helens, along with 20 other clubs, resign from the Rugby Union at a meeting held at the George Hotel in Huddersfield.
1895
Sep 7, Saints defeat Rochdale Hornets 8-3 at Knowsley Road in their inaugural Northern Union fixture.
1897
Apr 24, Batley defeat Saints 10-3 in the inaugural Challenge Cup final played at Headingley.

1900-1909
1906
Jan 1, Frank Lee and Tommy Barton appear for England in the 3 all draw with the Other Nationalities at Wigan, and thus become the club's first Internationals.
1906
The number of players on each side reduced from 15 to 13 and Line Outs abolished
1908
In December, scum half Arthur Kelly becomes Saints' first colonial import.
1909
Feb 10, Saints defeat the first Australian Tourists 9 nil.
1909
Apr 12, Warrington inflict upon St. Helens their record defeat 78-6.

1910-19
1912
Billy Briers announces his retirement. The last playing member who had defeated Rochdale Hornets in the first Northern Union match, Billy had scored 114 tries for the club in 512 appearances.
1913
St. Helens Recs join the Lancashire Combination.
1915
May 1, Huddersfield defeat Saints by a record 37 points to 3 in the Challenge Cup final played at Watersheadings, Oldham.
1917
Due to a shortage of players, 12 aside rugby is introduced.
1918
Jan 31, Saints are defeated 22 nil by Widnes. They then 'close down' due to a lack of finances.
1918
Dec 25, Saints re open and are beaten 20 points to nil by St. Helens Recs at City Road, in a friendly fixture.
1919
Jan 18, Competitive rugby restarts and Saints are defeated by St. Helens Recs 24-3 at Knowsley Road. This is the first 'official' fixture between the teams.

1920-29
1920
Dec 26, 24,000 fans pack Knowsley Road for the 'derby' encounter against Wigan and see Lord Derby open the new Pavilion.
1922
Stan and George Lewis sign from Pontypool RUFC, making their debuts in the 24-3 home victory over Featherstone Rovers.
1923
Jessie Skepper helped form Saints' Supporters' Club.
1926
Mar 27, Alf Ellaby scores two tries on his debut against Keighley at Knowsley Road.
1926
Nov 20, Saints defeat arch rivals St. Helens Recs by 10 points to 2 at Wilderspool, Warrington to win the Lancashire Cup for the first time. It was Saints' first major trophy triumph.
1927
Alf Ellaby finishes the season with 50 tries for Saints. A record!
1928
Seven players from St. Helens are selected to tour 'Down Under' for the 1928 Tour. These are thus the first Saints' or Recs' players to earn such a honour. Alf Ellaby, Les Fairclough, Alf Frodsham and Ben Halfpenny were selected from Saints, whilst the Recs provided Frank Bowen, Oliver Dolan and Albert Fildes.
1929
Oct 26, Arthur Atkinson of Castleford, converts a penalty kick from 75 yards, at Knowsley Road. He was kicking towards the Dunriding Lane end of the ground and was assisted by the wind! Castleford won 20-10.

1930-39
1930
May 3, Widnes surprisingly defeat Saints 10-3 in the Challenge Cup final. It was only the second final to be played at Wembley.
1932
Mar 5, Alf Ellaby scores 6 tries against Barrow. The first Saint to achieve such a feat.
May 7, St. Helens defeat Huddersfield 9-5 at Bell Vue, Wakefield to win the League Championship for the first time.
Alf Ellaby and Albert Fildes (now a Saint) are selected for the 1932 Tour.
1937
Saints become a Limited Liability Company.
1939
Jan 1, Saints defeat St. Helens Recs 5-3 at City Road, in their last ever meeting.

1940-49
1945
Aug 25, Widnes beat Saints 20-8 at Naughton Park, in their first post 2nd World War match.
1949
Jan 18, Stan McCormick signs for Saints from Bell Vue Rangers for a then record £4000.
Dec 26, a ground record 35,695 fans turn up to watch Saints play Wigan.

1950-59
1950
In January, the Training pitch was laid down.
1951
In February, the newly-completed Eccleston Kop covered enclosure was opened and was named after Supporters Club Secretary George Eddington.
Nov 10, Gt. Britain v New Zealand 1st Test at Swinton was the first televised Test Match
1952
Jan 12, Wigan v Wakefield Trinity encounter becomes fist televised League match.
Apr 19, first televised Wembley final took place between Workington Town andFeatherstone Rovers.
Wigan and Gt. Britain legend, Jim Sullivan, become St. Helens' first full time manager/ coach.
1953
Saints finish the 1952/3 season top of the League, go all season undefeated 'away' from home, win the Lancashire League and League Championship and are defeated 15-10 by Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup final.
1954
In September, the new scoreboard is used for the first time.
1955
Apr 22, Alex Murphy signs for Saints on his 16th Birthday.
1956
Apr 11, Alex Murphy makes his Saints debut in the 21-7 home victory over Whitehaven.
Apr 28, tries by Frank Carlton, Steve Llewellyn and skipper, Alan Prescot, together with two Austin Rhodes conversions enable Saints to defeat Halifax by 13 points to 2 to secure the club's first Challenge Cup final success.
Nov 24, St. Helens defeat Australia by a record 44 points to 2.
1957
Oct 26, Tom Van Vollenhoven scores a try on his debut as Saints defeat Leeds 36-7 at Knowsley Road, in front of 23,000 spectators.
1958
Six Saints players are selected to tour. Alan Prescott was named as Gt. Britain's captain and Frank Carlton, Vince Karalius, Glynn Moses, Alex Murphy and Ab Terry were chosen alongside him.
In August, the club's new grandstand is opened by Sir Harry Pilkington. The structure cost £32,000 and can seat 2,400.
1959
Saints top a thousand points in a league season for the first time. Their 1005 points came from 31 wins and a draw in their 38 matches. The finished in first position.
May 16, St. Helens defeat Hunslet by 44 points to 22 at Odsal Stadium to win one of the greatest ever League Championship finals.
Tom Van Vollenhoven finishes the season with a phenomenal 62 tries for the club. This smashed Alf Ellaby's 32 year old record and no one has bettered this total since.

1960-69
1961
May 13, Tom Van Vollenhoven scores one of the best tries ever seen in a Challenge Cup final as Saints defeat Wigan 12-6.
In September, new metal goal posts replaced the wooden originals after storm damage.
1962
The new popular side enclosure is erected. The old wooden structure that it replaced was given to Liverpool City for their ground at Knotty Ash.
1964
Oct 24, Saints defeat Swinton 12-4 at Wigan to win their 5th consecutive Lancashire Cup, in their 7th successive final.
1965
Jan 27, Saints' new floodlighting system opened by Sir Harry Pilkington.
1966
Saints finish the 1965/66 season with four trophies in one of their most successful seasons. The League Leaders Trophy, Lancashire League, Challenge Cup and League Championship all end up in the trophy cabinet.

1970-79
1971
May 22, Saints beat Wigan 16-12 at Station Road, Swinton to claim back to back League Championship Trophies for the first time.
1972
May 13, Graham Rees's first minute try helps Saints defeat Leeds 16-13 in the Challenge Cup final.
Six tackle rule introduced.
Timekeeper's hooter introduced.
1973
Bar and restaurant complex opened at Dunriding Lane end of the Knowsley Road Stadium.
1974
Drop goal devalued to one point.
1975
Saints win Division One Championship for the only time.
1976
St. Helens complete a Challenge Cup and Premiership Trophy 'double' and undertake a pioneering club tour to Australia and New Zealand.

1980-89
1983
Sin bin introduced.
Try value increased to four points.
Hand over after 6 tackles introduced.
Players dug outs are moved from Main stand to popular side.
1984
Oct 7, Mal Meninga and Phil Veivers make their Saints debuts in the 30 points to 16 victory over Castleford at Knowsley Road.
Oct 28, two tries by Mal Meninga inspire Saints, who beat Wigan 26-18, to win the Lancashire Cup for the first time in 16 years.
1985
Saints defeat hot favourites Hull KR 36-16 at Elland Road, to win the Premiership Trophy.
1986
Sep 14, St. Helens defeat Carlisle 112 nil, at Knowsley Road, in a 1st Round Lancashire Cup tie. A club record. Centre Paul Loughlin kicks 16 goals and finishes the match with 40 points-both also club records!
1987
May 2, centre, Mark Elia has the ball sensationally knocked from his grasp as he was diving to score a vital late try as Halifax defeat Saints 19-18 in the Challenge Cup final.
1988
St. Helens defeat Leeds 15-14, at Central Park, to win the John Player Trophy for the only time.
1989
Apr 29, Wigan defeat Saints 27 nil in the Challenge Cup final.
In September, work starts on 9 Executive Boxes and an electronic scoreboard at the Dunriding Lane end of the Knowsley Road Stadium

1990-99
1991
Blood bin introduced.
Sep 15, Saints defeat Trafford Borough 104-12, at Knowsley Road in a 1st Rnd Lancashire Cup tie. Only the 2nd time in the club's history that over 100 points has been scored in one match.
1992
St. Helens defeat Wigan 17 nil, at Gateshead, to win the Charity Shield for the only time.
1993
Saints lose out to Wigan, the Division One Championship, on points difference. They gain ample revenge by defeating their fierce rivals 10-4, at Old Trafford, in the Premiership Trophy final, thus denying Wigan the 'Grand Slam'.
1995
In goal judges introduced.
Summer Super League concept agreed to commence in 1996.
In August, St. Bernard becomes Saints' mascot.
In November, Paul Newlove signs for Saints, from Bradford Northern in a dealsaid to be worth £500.000. A record!
1996
In January, Shaun McRae is appointed St. Helens Coach.
Sky TV's Big Screen Video Referee introduced.
Mar 31, St. Helens defeat Workington Town 62 nil, at Derwent Park, in their first ever Super League match.
Apr 27, Saints defeat Bradford Bulls 40-32, in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley. It is Saints' first Challenge Cup success for 20 years and is regarded by many as being the best ever final!
Aug 26, St. Helens defeat Warrington 66-14, in front of 18,098 fans, at Knowsley Road, to claim the inaugural Super League Championship. It's their first such triumph for 21 years.
A record eight St. Helens players are chosen to tour with Gt. Britain. They are Keiron Cunningham, Bobbie Goulding, Karle Hammond, Joey Hayes, Alan Hunte, Chris Joynt, Steve Prescott and Anthony Sullivan.
1997
May 3, Saints retain the Challenge Cup for the first time by defeating Bradford Bulls 32-22, at Wembley.
1998
Ellery Hanley named as Sean McRae's successor as Saints' Head Coach.
1999
Oct 9, St. Helens win their first Super League Grand Final, by defeating Bradford Bulls by 8 points to 6 at Old Trafford.

2000-to date
2000
Jan 22, Saints defeated by Melbourne Storm 44-6 in the World Club Challenge played at the JJB Stadium, Wigan.
Oct 14, Saints retain their Super League crown by defeating Wigan Warriors 29-16, in the Grand Final, at Old Trafford.
2001
Jan 26, St. Helens are crowned as 'Champions of the World' for the very first time following their magnificent 20 points to 18 victory over highly fancied Brisbane Broncos, at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.
Apr 28, Saints defeat Bradford Bulls 13-6, at Twickenham, to win the Challenge Cup for the 8th time, thus claiming to hold all 3 available trophies.
May 13, At the official 'Civic Reception' at the Town Hall, following an Open Topped Bus tour of the town, St. Helens Council bestow upon the club the honour of 'Freedom of the Borough of St. Helens'
Jun 30, Chris Joynt makes his 87th successive appearance for the club, at Hull FC, thus breaking Harold Smith's 72 year old club record.
2002
Apr 27, Wigan Warriors defeat Saints 21-12 in the Challenge Cup Final at Murrayfield in Edinburgh.
2002, Aug 23, Chris Joynt scores his 116th try for the club v Halifax Blue Sox, thus overtaking Billy Briers' 90 year old club record for tries scored by a 'forward'.
2002, Oct 19, Sean Long's last minute drop goal wins the Super League Grand Final for St. Helens. Their 19-18 victory over Bradford Bulls was attained in one of the closest, most exciting RL finals.

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