Steve was signed from Bradford Northern in the summer of 1973 as part of a deal which saw Ken Kelly moving in the opposite direction. He scored one try for the Saints in two substitute appearances. His touchdown came on his first team debut against Dewsbury in November 1973.
Steve, who was once described as a long-striding centre, has recently shared his story with us. In his own words the tale is quite inspirational, as we are sure you will agree, in his battles against adversity.
The story started at school as a 13 year old getting picked for Yorkshire schoolboys under 15s unfortunately we did not play at school the year after so I could not follow up that route. I wish somebody would have led me up the path of amateur club level and made life a bit easier. Instead I was taken to a rugby union club and drafted into the first team at fly half; not easy for a 15 year old playing open age, but seemed to settle in ok. Quite a few top rugby union clubs came knocking, including Wigan RLFC. Then a scout called Eric Hawley came in with an offer from Bradford Northern that nobody in their right mind could turn down.
So started my time at Bradford. I had four or five 2nd team games then at the age of 16 made my first team appearance against the New Zealand touring team, nothing sparkling but did kick 2 goals. I think it was the week after I played at Featherstone again in the first team. Then a long lull in the 2nds before playing a couple of early friendly games the season after. Leading points scorer for the 2nd team no big deal.
Things hotted up when Saints came in and so did my appetite for the game. They got me a job at Pilks glass works and found me lodgings in the pub around the corner from the ground [happy days!] 18 good job top club. Found it hard to get in the first team setup at that time. It was a team of all stars. A very well-respected coach Jim Challinor was in charge at the time also a centre good man and I learned a lot. But he was concerned about my fitness, he asked me to step up my training but the more I trained the more tired I was getting. Little did I know the mega problem behind it all. Anyway, scored some tries kicked some goals and still at a good club even though still in the 2nds.
Out of the blue Wakefield came knocking and I do think Saints were happy in a way. They were doing their best paying me squad money to keep my head above water as well as me ready to go anyway. So off I went. Little did I know it was to save my life. Still only 19 I played 4 games at the end 73/74 season. 0n the last game broke my finger - two subs remember - so I played part of the match on the wing. Went to hospital after the game to sort it out. Little did I not know I would have it amputated. THIS IS WHERE THE STORY STARTS.
Lucky is not the word. Now we know why I was so tired. On the routine blood count they discovered lymphoma cancer in my neck. Within days I was transferred to the main Cookridge hospital where I had a major splenectomy op plus intravenous chemotherapy for 9 months - not nice at all. Wakefield were in contact at first but as the time passed they knew maybe there was no way back to play. In between the next couple of years after putting my marriage off through illness I got hitched. After another year in the doldrums I started training with a local amateur team in Hunslet. Enjoyed playing that much I thought I would try my hand back at Wakefield. Not being the man I was it was short lived. Played a bit of union and really enjoyed my time at West Park, Leeds. Then went back to RL, at East Leeds ARLFC. After finishing playing coached for 7 seasons making this the most rewarding time of my rugby career.
It was good until the relapse again of the lymphoma now 2001. Everybody at the club rallied round. They even held a sporting dinner at Elland Road in which my old friends from Bradford turned out, together with my Saints friends Tony Atherton, Gratton Bond and Dennis Lyon, plus letters from other Saints players. Wakefield also had a table of 10 led by Trevor Skerrett and Graham Idle. I could have picked a team to take on all-comers with who was in that room. We gave the proceeds to research. I am sure when I bump into some of them they want their money back, as the prognosis was that bad at the time.
Anyway back to the present day the lymphomas back again; 2016 chemo did not work so full cell transplant to prolong life in one way but the side effects are not good on the other. Heart problems now been the biggest with a pacemaker/icd implanted with an op planned for 17th December; taken my driving licence off me but the wife drives so lucky in that respect. But all in all still standing; still enjoying my rugby league both local and on telly!
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|18th Nov 1973||
|26th Dec 1973||
|29th Dec 1973||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 2 | LOSSES : | DRAWS : 1|
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