William Bennett Lawrenson by SHS
The Second World War can cause problems of identification for players. Clubs very often had a difficult to task to make up the numbers of players for matches and, invariably, there are some unfamiliar names. Sometimes they were pseudonyms, which makes things quite difficult, nay impossible for the historians. Other times, first names are missing, with only small clues as to a player's identity.
No problems for the surname of this player, however, as Premier, in the St. Helens Newspaper [21-05-1940] pointed out: "It was almost worth a bob to see Lawrenson, Saints' new 17 year-old signing trotting out in a Saints' jersey. Aston hadn't turned up and as Saints had selected seven forwards and Lawrenson was one of them, the youngster naturally filled Aston's place. He is tall and beautifully proportioned The only thing wrong on Saturday was that he wasn't fit. I am told that he has had three weeks training and three weeks training is absolutely nowhere. Before twenty minutes had elapsed, he was plodding around, quite game, but quite jiggered. Well, he has the remaining matches to get really fit and add even more weight".
His third match was against Liverpool Stanley in the War Emergency League clash at Prescott Road on 12th October 1940. The Saints won 26-11 and one of the players who impressed was the teenage forward Lawrenson. Recorder in the St. Helens Reporter, stated that Stanley "were set a pace that finally cracked them up. They marked their men and would not be kidded by dummy or sidestep or reverse pass. But they were outpaced as the game went on and were beaten by a seventeen years old forward, Lawrenson, selling them a well-advertised dummy on one occasion". The Saints' back three that afternoon had an unfamiliar look about it, with Peter Twist at loose forward the only really experienced First Teamer. But it was Lawrenson who was the game-breaker. Recorder again: "That blinding run of [Albert] Doyle shook St. Helens into greater craftsmanship but it was not until Lawrenson did an amazing and yet very obvious piece of dummying and hard running that St. Helens gained a lead near half-time".
Following contact from Carol Lawrenson, William's daughter-in-law, the SHS concluded that the youngster's name was William Bennett Lawrenson who went on to play eight matches all told in the seniors, with a last hurrah against Salford at Knowsley Road on 12 January 1946, when he turned out in the second row. The Saints went down 6-13 on this occasion. Carol informs us that William was in the RAF during World War Two. Later on he became a Police Officer in the St Helens force. He died in 2008. Many thanks to Carol for her information.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|18th May 1940||
|5th Oct 1940||
|12th Oct 1940||
|19th Oct 1940||
|14th Dec 1940||
|8th Feb 1941||
|12th Sep 1942||
|19th Sep 1942||
|12th Jan 1946||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 4 | LOSSES : 5 | DRAWS :|
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