|In early November 1901, the Saints played their first-ever fixture in the Northern Union away against Radcliffe. According to the St. Helens Newspaper on 8th November 1901: “The Saints were expecting their latest capture Fairbairn were expecting their latest capture, Fairbairn, of Hull Kingston Rovers, to turn out, but, although he had come over to do so, it was found out at the last minute that there had been a trifling irregularity in connection with his registration form, and he was therefore unable to turn out under the circumstances. Porter went to the full-back position and Foulkes again played on the threequarter line”. |
Our man made his debut at Knowsley Road the following week against Warrington on the right wing and, by all accounts, did well. The Newspaper talked about the Saints giving as much as they got until the stronger Warrington side overcame them in the last quarter, to win 9-17. In fact, the match reports are always favourable for this player, emphasising his tackling and elusiveness, even though he didn’t get one over the whitewash during his spell as a Saint.
His last match was on Boxing Day, against Leigh at Knowsley Road. Fairburn played on the right wing, with the great Jim Barnes as his centre. Looking through the Hull KR teams for that era, he doesn’t seem prominent, but what happened to him after that last game is still subject to conjecture – as is the correct spelling of his name.
David Sherwood, the Hull KR historian, kindly advises us that Fairburn played two matches for Hull KR against Rochdale Hornets and Stockport in September 1901. The winger managed to score a try on his debut in the former game.
David Sherwood, the Hull KR historian has kindly added the following details about the career of Fairbourn with the Robins.
F. Fairbourn who was a winger signed for Hull Kingston Rovers just prior to the start of the 1901/2 season when they were due to participate in the Lancashire Senior Competition. He was signed from Leeds Parish Church and had been their leading try scorer the previous campaign when they were members of the Yorkshire Senior Competition and had actually played against the Robins in league fixtures. Leeds Parish Church did not wish to lose him but the deal went through nevertheless.
He made his debut for the Robins on the 14th September 1901 in an away fixture at Rochdale Hornets which was won by 10 points to nil with Fairburn notching one of their two tries in that victory. He also played the next match on the 19th September a home fixture against the long defunct Stockport side which ended in a 0-0 draw.
Rovers at the time were quite well off for wingers one of which was the legendary George Henry (Tich) West and so Fairbourn did not get many opportunities in the senior side. So, when St Helens made an enquiry for his services in October of that year the two clubs agreed a deal and he was transferred back to the St Helens club in the final week of October 1901.
We believe that the man from Leeds lived at 141 Hunslet Road, Leeds in 1911 and was operating as a hairdresser. He died in Leeds in December 1937 aged 59.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|9th Nov 1901||L||2||Warrington||SWLL||1901~02||H||9||17||VIEW|
|16th Nov 1901||W||3||Birkenhead Wanderers||L AB||1901~02||A||5||0||VIEW|
|23rd Nov 1901||W||3||Millom||L||1901~02||A||8||6||VIEW|
|7th Dec 1901||W||3||Radcliffe||L||1901~02||H||23||6||VIEW|
|14th Dec 1901||L||2||Barrow||L||1901~02||A||5||7||VIEW|
|25th Dec 1901||W||2||Hull K.R.||L||1901~02||H||12||3||VIEW|
|26th Dec 1901||W||2||Leigh||SWLL||1901~02||H||11||8||VIEW|
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|