A real firebrand on the field, Brian could always be relied to get Ďstuck iní to the opposition. He was the archetypal hard-running, hard tackling forward, who would not take a backward step. Dave Dooley remembers him as a real `rough house` forward who took great delight in scattering opponents when he embarked on his rampaging runs. Brian was a product of Merton Bank Junior School and first began playing rugby there at the age of nine. The Headteacher was the Saintsí Chairman Harry Cook, so perhaps this was a factor in his future career! He moved to Parr High School and played for the Town and Lancashire schoolboy teams.
On leaving Parr High, Brian began playing amateur rugby down at Blackbrook, in the Under 17s and came to prominence in televised matches that were usually shown on Sundays. He signed for Saints at sixteen and made his debut against Salford at Knowsley Road on New Yearís Day 1966. He was substitute forward, with Wilf Smith substitute in the backs. Saints won 16-3, on their way to a marvellous four-trophy haul. Brian featured in several matches, but didnít get the call for the Challenge Cup or Championship final.
Overall, Brian played in five finals for the Saints. His first was the drawn [7-7] Championship final against Wakefield in 1967 as a thunderstorm raged around Headingley. Saints lost the replay 9-21 at Swinton. Ironically, Brian was involved in another drawn final, this time in the Lancashire Cup, when Saints and Warrington drew 2-2. He was not involved in the replay, although he did get that elusive winnerís medal when Saints thrashed Oldham 30-2 at Central Park, Wigan in the 1968 Lancashire Cup final. Brian was in the second row that day, with John Mantle partnering him.
His last match as a Saint was another final, this time in the Floodlit trophy. It was at a murky Central Park on 17th December 1968, when Wigan won 7-4 a game in which Brian showed his fiery side once more by being sent off! He subsequently signed for Wigan, although he never changed the abrasive style that saw him spend quite a few hours at the RFL judiciary! Yet Brian played for Wigan with distinction, from 1969-1972 and had a second spell with the club from 1974-1978. He captained them for a spell too and played in the 1970 Challenge Cup final against Castleford and the 1971 Championship final, when Billy Benyonís last-gasp try brought victory for his former club. A 1975 World Cup representative for England.
Brian also had two spells with Widnes; played for Bradford Northern [a second Wembley appearance in 1972-73] and finished his career with a season at Oldham in 1982-83.
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