|George Blackledge by Alex Service and Dave Dooley |
We have very little information about this player and we would welcome further input. Indeed, his first name is not 100% verified, but given certain evidence, it has a good chance of being correct! We believe that George was the son of Lewis Blackledge, a glassworks manager, who lived in Dentons Green Lane. Born in 1894, in St. Helens, George was seven in the 1901 census and his father passed away in 1904, aged 48.
Regarding the rugby, there are also some snippets to go on in the local press. Before his only match for the First Team, against Salford in November 1920, there was this entry in the St. Helens Newspaper: “The Saints will give a trial to Blackledge on the left wing. He is a teacher, a smart, well-built young man who can run.”
The match report by Premier was not really encouraging: “The principal feature of interest was the display of Blackledge on the left wing. Quite apart from other players who may be available, Swift of Thatto Heath is a better player than Blackledge at least so it is contended.” So George Blackledge played on the right wing for the Saints in the 14 points to 5 league victory over Salford in his only match. He was partnered on the right by centre Charlie Crooks. Interestingly, he had earlier emigrated in February 1911 with his family as a 16 year old and settled in Guy Street, Warwick, Queensland. There he was employed as a Dental Mechanic. George returned to England a few years later as part of the Australian Army in World War One. We can only assume that his brief rugby career with the Saints coincided with a delayed return down under. We know that he was back in Australia by December 1921 because he married Hazel Williams in Queensland that month. The couple moved to Musgrave Street, Toowong, Queensland, Australia. George was died in Queensland in September 1962, aged 68.