|Trialist Johnson by Alex Service |
The 1946-47 season was extended to unusual lengths as a result of the bad winter, with Saints finishing their campaign on 17th May with a home match against Featherstone Rovers. The pitch was hard and probably bore the scars of the winter months and caused problems for the tackled players, with several being knocked out when they hit the ground. Recorder in the St. Helens Reporter seemed to enjoy Saints’ performance in the bright sunlight. Featherstone were “strong but slow” and the home team duly came out on top with little difficulty.
One of the features of the game was in the crowd, which included some unusual guests, as Recorder explained: “There were thirty German prisoners watching the game. I don’t know how far Dr. Goebells’ propaganda about our degeneracy had sunk in with them but I reckon they would scarcely say these players were any less than Nordic he-men sweating and striving and running like hares in the boiling sun”.
Recorder also describes a “glorious bout of fisticuffs” erupting from one particular scrum, featuring legendary Saints’ hard man Jonty Pilkington. Yet there was a new player on view, at scrum-half, with the usual pseudonym. ‘Johnson’ it was and he certainly left a favourable impression with the Reporter correspondent: “First of all, Johnson, who I understand is less than nine stone in weight, scored a try and proved himself a most active and quite fast player, whose only fault lay in his lack of bulk and his occasional wildness in the scrum”. Indeed, the new man seemed to mesh well with his stand-off, Len Constance, as the Saints cruised to a 35-0 success. But then the season was over and the track goes cold somewhat. Please note his date of birth is notional and for our statistical purposes only.