|Fred Cheshire by Alex Service |
The St. Helens club had been making great strides in signing some quality players in the years before the First World War, rather than those who had been deemed as not good enough to represent near-neighbours Wigan, who ended up at Knowsley Road. The club sought Welsh talent, particularly from the Cross Keys club and looked to be on an upward curve. Interest was high and prospects looked good. Yet the Kaiser was to put the proverbial kybosh on the development of St. Helens RFC for the next five years and, effectively for the next decade.
In the St. Helens Newspaper on 25th July 1913, however, the talk was of Fred Cheshire coming to play for the Saints, a collier, born in Fullmoon, Newport in 1887:
“Perhaps the most important capture made by the St. Helens club for many years. He is from Cross Keys the winners of the Monmouthshire league last season. He is a stand-off half back who has been much sought-after by many Northern Union clubs, Hunslet in particular being very anxious to secure his services. Cross Keys ran the feared Cardiff club to three points in a game last season and Cheshire was considered their best player”.
So, Saints’ supporters looked forward to the annual Practice Match at Knowsley road with interest. The Newspaper, on 22nd August 1913 tells us all about it and the appearance of Fred Cheshire:
“The man who everyone wanted to see was Fred Cheshire, the new fly-half from the Cross Keys [Monmouth] club. He duly turned up and made a very satisfactory debut with his new comrades. Indeed, considering that he was playing in a new game for the first time and with men who were absolute strangers to his style of play, he did splendidly. In appearance, Cheshire is not unlike George Anlezark, the Oldham man. He has a pair of safe hands, can give and take a pass in fine style while he is not on the slow side”.
A practice match is one thing, the reality of the Northern Union was something else and once again, a good judge like Tom Reynolds [Premier] gave him a glowing report, after his debut at Runcorn, on 6th September 1913:
“Cheshire showed that he can play, and play very smartly too, his dashes through the opposition indicating that when he sets out to pierce the opposition, he takes a tremendous amount of checking. He is not yet that smooth hinge between the pack and the backs that we expect him to be, but experience will set all his drawbacks right and probably will make him the best capture of the season. Cheshire is undoubtedly a half-back with great possibilities and it will be a keen disappointment to many if he does not fulfil his promise”.
Saints won their first match of the 1913-14 season 10-5 at Runcorn and Fred was partnered at scrum-half by Fred Trenwith. He played 26 times during his one and only campaign for the club, scoring two tries and kicking 20 goals. His last match was at home to Hunslet on 18th April 1914. Saints won 36-6 and Fred was left centre to Tom Barton. Fred scored one and made another try for his team-mate and that was it. Presumably, the war had an influence at this point, although we are not sure. He is found on the 1939 Census living in Lime Millpoint Road, Mynyddislwyn, Wales. Fred passed away in Newport in December 1943, aged 57. If anyone has any further information, we would like to hear from you.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|6th Sep 1913||W||6||Runcorn||L||1913~14||A||10||5||VIEW|
|13th Sep 1913||L||6||Oldham||L||1913~14||H||13||21||VIEW|
|27th Sep 1913||W||6||Dewsbury||L||1913~14||H||16||12||1||VIEW|
|4th Oct 1913||L||6||Warrington||L||1913~14||A||11||22||VIEW|
|11th Oct 1913||L||6||Widnes||L||1913~14||A||0||25||VIEW|
|29th Nov 1913||L||6||Hunslet||L||1913~14||A||11||20||1||VIEW|
|6th Dec 1913||W||6||Swinton||L||1913~14||H||19||5||2||VIEW|
|13th Dec 1913||W||6||Runcorn||L||1913~14||H||18||5||3||2||VIEW|
|20th Dec 1913||L||6||Rochdale Hornets||L||1913~14||A||2||31||VIEW|
|25th Dec 1913||W||6||Widnes||L||1913~14||H||10||3||1||VIEW|
|26th Dec 1913||L||6||Wigan||L||1913~14||H||3||17||VIEW|
|27th Dec 1913||L||6||Broughton Rangers||L||1913~14||A||0||11||VIEW|
|1st Jan 1914||D||6||Huddersfield||L||1913~14||H||8||8||1||VIEW|
|10th Jan 1914||W||3||Wakefield Trinity||L||1913~14||H||12||5||3||2||VIEW|
|17th Jan 1914||L||3||Barrow||L||1913~14||A||5||24||1||VIEW|
|31st Jan 1914||W||6||Dewsbury||L||1913~14||A||12||11||2||VIEW|
|2nd Feb 1914||L||6||Hull||L||1913~14||H||7||15||2||VIEW|
|21st Feb 1914||L||6||Warrington||L||1913~14||H||8||22||1||VIEW|
|14th Mar 1914||D||3||Rochdale Hornets||CC2||1913~14||A||3||3||VIEW|
|18th Mar 1914||L||3||Rochdale Hornets||CC2(rep)||1913~14||H||0||10||VIEW|
|21st Mar 1914||L||3||Leigh||L||1913~14||A||6||7||VIEW|
|4th Apr 1914||L||3||Oldham||L||1913~14||A||5||32||1||VIEW|
|10th Apr 1914||L||3||Wigan||L||1913~14||A||2||30||VIEW|
|11th Apr 1914||W||3||Rochdale Hornets||L||1913~14||H||47||5||2||VIEW|
|13th Apr 1914||L||6||Huddersfield||L||1913~14||A||8||10||VIEW|
|18th Apr 1914||W||4||Hunslet||L||1913~14||H||36||6||1||VIEW|
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|