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James Crossley by Alex Service
A local-born threequarter, James went to work in the South of England after his rugby career was finished. We have good reason to believe that this is the same player who once turned out with great success for local rivals St. Helens Recreation. Indeed, the story of the Recs and Northern Union is an interesting one. They voted not to join the original breakaway group of clubs and stay with the rugby union. Unfortunately, their fixture list had previously been with many of the club who went professional and the club suffered as a result. Yet James was able to play three times for Lancashire in 1896 as a result of the split, against Glamorgan, Norfolk and Devon. As for the Recs, they joined the Northern Union retrospectively but it was, in reality, too late and they turned to association football, with great success. James would have probably given the game up by then, but turned out for the Saints when they asked. He played for them on four occasions, without scoring.
After his last match, against Leigh at Knowsley Road on 4th April 1900, the St. Helens Newspaper gives us more clues as to his real identity: 'Crossley, at back, played a fair game, reminding one now and then of his play in the old days when he figured in the position for the Recs and one could not but feel that had he been entrusted with the defence of the time when Warrington came to St. Helens on the last occasion, there would have been a different tale to tell. When he is roused to action Crossley can play a good game.'
By 1901 James had forsaken St Helens and headed south to work in a Mental Hospital as an asylum worker and nurse. In 1939 he was residing in Horseshoe Lane, Harborough, Watford where he died in September 1942 at the age of 69.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|21st Oct 1899||
|4th Nov 1899||
|26th Dec 1899||
|4th Apr 1900||
|13th Apr 1900||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 3 | LOSSES : 2 | DRAWS :|
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