Further Info: Retired with an Enlarged heart. Benefit Match v Hull 03/03/51
Len Aston by Dave Dooley: Len signed for the Saints just before the Second World War. He made his debut against Broughton Rangers on the 9th., December, 1939. In 125 matches for the Saints, Len scored 26 tries and kicked 9 goals for a total of 96 points.
Len played only 7 games without scoring in his first season. The following season yielded only two games, yet again his name did not appear on the scoresheet. Due to wartime duties Len did not put on a Saints jersey until the 1946-47 season when in the penultimate match of the season Aston scored a brace of tries against Barrow in a 36 points to 7 home victory on May 31st. 1947. Len scored again the following week. It had taken seven and a half years get on the scoresheet!
Season 1947-48 was the most productive in Len`s career with 15 tries and a solitary goal playing in the second row with four outings in the centres. Len played in most Saints games over the next two years with his ball handling skills coming to the fore. His final match for the Saints was against Leigh on Christmas Day 1950. He was one of those players whose rugby career was severely curtailed by the war.
Article from Rugby League Gazette October 13th 1950
Len Aston A Great Sportsman
The forward who deliberately threw away a career as a centre in order to go into the pack will take his benefit this season.
Len Aston, the man with the magic hands, the subtle sidestep, and the superb turn of speed, suddenly flashed into the limelight in 1947-48. Almost overnight he played himself into Great Britain’s team versus New Zealand as a forward. Evidently he knew, when he rejected the centre threequarter position, where his future really lay. Then, pneumonia nearly ended his career. Len beat the attack off, but it took away his sudden acceleration of pace, and brought him back to club level again.
Like most St. Helens boys, Aston played soccer or rugby, which ever game happened to be on top. Often he played both codes in the same week, even the same day. That is one of the reasons why a big lad in a junior soccer team around St. Helens today is always a possible mark for a rugby scout. Aston was in the Lancashire R.L. Schoolboy team. Five minutes after he was in Bethel Mission Soccer team, in the Sunday School League. There he stayed until 1939. Then he played in St. Helens Rugby Club’s medal competition with Cresswell Recs, and was signed on by Saints at the same time as Jim Stott and Harold Fishwick. In August, 1940, he joined the army, and added Rugby Union football to his soccer and Rugby League experience. De-mobbed, he played centre, then prop-forward, then second row, in the Saints second team; and so on to the first team and fame.
Though born within a stones throw of the ground, he was practically unknown to the home crowd until he became famous overnight.
Aston is a splendid sportsman, quiet and unobtrusive in manner, never boasting, never in trouble, never in the referee’s bad books. His biggest laugh was when two forwards advanced from opposite directions to sandwich a lightweight back. The back twigged the move and ducked! The forwards met head on, and both went down in a double knock out. Aston went down with laughter. He was entirely on the little fellow’s side. That’s typical of him. He never uses a hammer to crack a nut, even a big nut; and as a result has no enemies. The Supporters Club have already opened their campaign on his behalf, and that is a guarantee of success.