|Sam Clemson by Alex Service |
The St.Helens Newspaper gave news of a new signing by the Saints which was meant to pep up the pace of the threequarter line. Sam Clemson was truly a flyer, famous for his sprinting exploits for the Pilkington Recreation Athletics club, who had also represented Lancashire and North West Counties. Sam had been playing occasionally for The Recs Rugby Union team and had been put under close surveillance by Saints scouts prior to his capture.
Clemson had a peak time of 9.9 seconds for the 100 yards and a best of 21.9 for the furlong. He had been close to selection for the Melbourne Olympic squad, but was ruled out by injury. Sam was 22 when he signed and ideally built for a sprinter at 12 stones 4 lbs and 5 feet 10 ins. His progress had also been monitored by Saints Secretary Basil Lowe, who was formerly Secretary to the Pilkington Athletics organisation.
There are very few instances of even-timers playing rugby. McDonald Bailey, who played for Leigh was the fastest of them all, but his entry into the game was largely a publicity stunt. Famous speed merchants like Ellaby and Brian Bevan were not even-timers, although perhaps one of the quickest was Stan McCormick, who excelled in the Powderhall event.
The signing of Clemson was seen as vital given the impending loss of Frank Carlton, who was beginning his National Service. He was a draughtsman at Pilkingtons Cowley Hill works and was a former pupil of Prescott Grammar School. Sam made his debut against Whitehaven A at Knowsley Road, when his centre was Arthur Pimblett. Although he became an A team regular, First Team opportunities were few and far between for Sam. It is presumed that he retired after his spell at Saints and we believe that at some stage he went to Apapa in Nigeria. He worked for a packaging company and was certainly still there in August 1966. Any further information about this player would be appreciated.