Michael Higham by Dave Dooley: Mick Higham was born in Billinge on the 18th of September, 1980 and raised in the grand Lancashire town of Leigh. Ian Millward had groomed Higham whilst undertaking the coaches role with Leigh Centurions and so it was no surprise when Mick was brought to Knowsley Road as cover for the great Keiron Cunningham. Blessed with lightning speed off the mark and a keen sense of a gap in any defence, Mick had limited opportunities to demonstrate his prowess in his first season with the Saints. In 2001 he played 13 matches including 11 as substitute. Nevertheless, it was clear to all spectators that he had the qualities to become a vital part of the Saints` set-up.
His value as an impact player was clearly demonstrated in the 2002 season as Mick participated in 35 matches scoring 8 tries in the process. He was perfect for picking up the pace at the acting half back with darting runs that would put any defence on the back foot. He claimed his first major honour when coming on as a substitute in the epic Grand Final of 2002 when Saints edged home against Bradford Bulls by 19 points to 18.
A career threatening injury to Keiron Cunningham during the Kiwi Test Series at the end of the 2001 season provided Mick with a platform to develop his talents from the start of the 2003 season. A hat trick coming on from the substitutes bench in the home league match against London threw Mick into the national spotlight. When KC returned to the side Mick was gifted a half back role as Tommy Martyn decided to develop his coaching career with hometown Leigh. He took to the role like a duck to water inspiring Saints to a ten match unbeaten run in the second half of the season. By then, Mick was scoring tries for fun and he added two braces of touchdowns in away league games against Castleford and Bradford. In the latter match, a 35 points to nil drubbing of the Bulls, Mick should have had a hat trick but the referee failed to refer the obvious touchdown to the video referee.
At ther start of the 2004 Mick and the Saints hit a purple patch of form. Mick`s introduction into any contest found other packs on the back foot. His smart play was one the main factors which propelled the Saints on one of their most memorable Challenge Cup runs. The Challenge Cup road to Cardiff saw Saints collecting the biggest scalps in the game. A stunning away victory against Brdaford was followed up with home victories against Leeds and Hull both of whom showed tremendous resistance. A high flying and confident Huddersfield team were dumped by forty points in the glorious Warrington sunshine on semi-final day. However Mick will recall that day with great sadness. Mick stumbled as he undertook a pre-match warm-up at the HJ Stadium. The Saints` backroom staff withdrew Mick from the contest. The ultimate news was disastrous as Mick was diagnosed with a hairline fracture which would cruelly rule him out of the Challenge Cup Final in Cardiff.
After a a few months Mick rejoined the fray but the notorious betting scandal and key injuries had left the second half of the season in tatters. Nevertheless, some outstanding performances forced new Great Britain coach, Brian Noble, to include Mick in the Tri-Nations set-up. Thus, as the competition climaxed Mick made his debut at the highest level in the international game - thoroughly deserved too! At the commencement of the 2005 campaign Mick didn`t realise that it would his last season for the Saints. His contributons through the season were instrumental in Saints` finishing top of the ladder by the end of the season. His form presuade Brian Noble to include Mick in the GB Tri-Nations squad. A bizarre transfer triangle witnessed Saints dispatching Mick to Bradford and on the same day the Bulls exchanging Higham for Terry Newton. By this time He has scored a very creditable 35 tries for the Saints Club from 116 appearances.
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