Further Info: Brother of Alan- Uncle of David and Ian
Kenneth Gwilliam by Dave Dooley:
Ken Gwilliam was a local lad who had started his professional rugby career with Salford. He was a busy and enthusiastic half back who came into the first team on a regular basis with the retirement of Jeff Heaton in 1976. Ken was a great support player with excellent handling skills and positional sense. His half breaks would often create a channel for the rampaging Saints` forwards to exploit. After signing from Salford in August 1974 Ken made his debut in the 16 points to 10 away victory over Warrington later the same month. His first try for the club came in the Championship winning season of 1974/5 when he scored a neat try in the 25 points to 5 victory over Widnes on the last day of March, 1975. His appearances in the first team that season earned him a Championship winner`s medal.
His versatility in those days was important as he could play equally well at scrum half or stand-off. Ken played a total of 29 matches in his first two seasons with the highlight coming in the 1976 Premiership Final against Salford. Ken came onto the field as substitute to replace Jeff Heaton. The resultant 15 points to 2 victory provided Ken with his first cup final winner`s medal.
In the 1976/7 season Ken revelled in his extended run in the scrum half`s shirt. This was evident from early on in the campaign with sterling performances including a sparkling hat trick in the 20 points to 5 victory over Leigh on September 24th. 1966. In all Ken made 39 appearances that season and scored nine tries. In the last match of the season Ken was back at Station Road, Swinton in the 1977 Premiership Final. His quick service paved the way for the Saints` backs to run riot against Warrington. Ken made the most of the Swinton sunshine and nipped in for a try himself as Saints prevailed by 32 points to 20. Ken had won his second Premiership winner`s medal.
The following season saw Ken in the thick of the action again. He scored his second hat trick for the club in the 39 points to 17 victory over Castleford on September 11th., 1977. That season Saints played some of their brightest football with Ken again driving the forwards and servicing the backs. In particular he established an excellent partnership with twinkle toes Bill Francis. However, at the end of the season the Saints trophy cabinet remained empty. Ken however fulfilled his ambition of stepping out in Challenge Cup Final at Wembley though the narrow 14 points to 12 defeat by Leeds was not the result he had hoped for. The following season saw Ken challenged for the scrum half berth by the up and coming Neil Holding.
The 1979/80 season was Ken`s last in a Saints` jersey. He notched his last try for the club in the 45 points to 17 demolition of Rochdale Hornets with his final match for the club coming in the 8 points draw on the 4th of November 1979. In his career at Knowsley Road Ken scored 25 tries and a drop goal from a creditable 151 matches as Saints success continued in the second half of the 1970s.
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