Cuthbert Pennington


Date unknown.
14-10-1899 v Wigan
1907- when he Retired
63 (0)


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Universally known as Cuddy this versatile diehard seemed a permanent feature around the club in the first forty years of the twentieth century. He was signed from Wigan in the summer of 1899. Cuddy had played 8 matches for the Riversiders in the previous season. His previous club was the team Cuddy faced on his debut for the Saints in October 1899. He started in the forwards that day but his versatility soon found him playing in various back positions, for the next four seasons.

Following a spell away from the club Cuddy returned in December 1907 to renew his love affair with the Saints. He was a reliable kicker and his contributions helped the Saints to victory in several matches. Indeed he kicked 30 goals for the team and chipped in with six tries as well. At the age of 34 he played his final official first team match for the club against Bradford Northern in September 1908. However his contributions were far from over. Cuthbert remained on the Saints' register of players and one month shy of his 43rd birthday he played for the first team in the away victory over Broughton Rangers in April 1917 in the War Emergency League.

Although Cuddy finally hung up his boots, he remained with the club and became the trainer. His characteristic flat cap and steely grin can be observed on team photographs from the 1920s.

This article first appeared in the Evening Express Supplement in October 1954 and was written by Tom Reynolds

Cuddy Pennington (80) wins fame once more bowling.

I found him on the bowling green at the Gerrard Arms, following his bowl with long youthful strides, not very far from the spot where he played his first senior rugby match at Boundary Road about 63 years ago.
His hair is grey, his eyes still blue and twinkling, and I recognised him at once. Cuddy Pennington, christened Cuthbert, the man who played rugby until he was nearly 50, who came back in the second half of his life during World War One, the man who at 80, still trundles a good wood. He was playing in a cup match, with all the zeal of an expert.
Not many rugby followers of today remember Cuddy Pennington, the rugby player, but to bowlers around St.Helens his name is mustard. At Wigan, Warrington, Widnes, Leigh and other parts of South-West Lancashire, the old uns think Cuddy is now with the angels, he played so long ago.
"I am still with the Saints though I'm 80," says Cuddy. "And I'll take on any man my age though I don't say I'll beat him on the bowling green."
"When I first started playing Northern Union rugby," he began. But he was suddenly interrupted. "Hey Cuddy, you are next man on, don't keep your opponent waiting," said a commanding voice.
Cuddy grabbed his woods and strode towards the green, but not before he remarked: "If tha wilt wait a minute, whilst I polish this mon off, tha can ask me anythin tha wants to know an I'll please msel about telling thee."
So Cuddy proceeded to have his polishing off process and having advanced another round in the Waring Cup he resumed his story. "Tell him what you did in the Waring Cup final," interrupted one of his chums. He wouldn't so his mate chipped in: "Cuddy was in the final, but he had a bad cold. It looked as if his time was up and we all wanted him to go off and see a doctor. But he stuck it to lose 21-19 and finished up the evening in hospital. He had pneumonia."
When National Health came in Cuddy needed no teeth extracting. He had lost them all on the various rugby grounds in both counties. His breaks included ribs, three times, and collar bone a similar number. "You know the rule," said he with a grin. "Break anything three times and it becomes your own property."
And it was all for love. "They called us professionals, but very little money I ever saw. I remember when we were due to play Rochdale St.Clements at Rochdale in my teens. At that time I was only earning a few shillings a week in the mine and my spending money was one and sixpence a week. By the time I had finished trying to throw coconuts at the fairground it was gone. Next day, with the Recs team (I was playing for them then) I arrived in Manchester. Hungry, empty and without a bean, this professional was due to play rugby for money, (half a crown if we won) and there was more than an hour to go before play was due to start. Sauntering down the platform I noticed a truck load of celery. After glancing around, to be sure no one was looking, I made my dinner off it. When I saw, whilst serving as an Assistant Trainer, years later, the modern professionals having a pre-match snack of steak and egg, on a slice of crisp toast, I often thought back to my crisp celery lunch. The good old days were not so good for rugby players, believe me. Of course, we were not such good players either. I don't remember winning anything at rugby. All my fifty odd medals were won at swimming and water polo, but I have picked up a few odds and ends by winning bowling events in the last few years. My swimming days were great days to me. I was in the St.Helens Water Polo team that got to the English Championship final twice and at times water polo could be nearly as tough as rugby."
He was 17 when he played with the First Team the first time and 46 when he played the last, against Oldham. That day he was hooker, facing up to the redoubtable Joe Ferguson, who went on even longer than Cuddy. Joe was immortalised in the couplet: "For hookers come and hookers go, But Ferguson for ever!"
He played in teams against Warrington when the great Jack Fish was the wing star of his time. "We could do with a few wingers like him today. No one ever knew how fast he was neither did any opponent ever know which way he was going." Dave Traynor, who went to Swinton because St.Helens were hard up, was another great player. Billy Hunter was believed to be one of the fastest. A cup-tie against Warrington was Cuddys best-remembered game. "We won six points to three. I told the forwards, 'If you can go on getting the ball, I will see they never get it.' And that was how we won. Victory was everything to us at that time. How often they picked me up, bounced me, threw me away and came back to do it again, I lost count!"
For many years he was Trainer or Assistant Trainer to the Saints. He trained the St.Helens Schoolboy team that went on a tour to France and went with them. "You can't pay too much attention to the boys," is his summing up. "Where would South West Lancashire football be without them?"

Away from rugby Cuddy was a ropemaker. In 1939 he resided at 25 Hillside Avenue, St Helens. He remained in St Helens and died in 1957 aged 83.


Season (Official Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1899~00 0 0 0 6
1900~012 8 0 21
1901~021 14 0 11
1902~031 4 0 5
1903~041 4 0 6
1907~08 0 11 0 12
1908~09 1 0 0 2
TOTALS:6 41 0 63
Season (Other Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1900~01 0002
1908~09 0001
1915~16 1002


14th Oct 1899
15 Wigan L H 5 0 VIEW
21st Oct 1899
11 Stockport L H 17 3 VIEW
26th Dec 1899
7 Millom L A 8 10 VIEW
30th Dec 1899
11 Tyldesley L A 14 3 VIEW
1st Jan 1900
11 Leigh L H 26 0 VIEW
13th Jan 1900
10 Millom L H 7 2 VIEW
1st Sep 1900
7 Broughton Rangers L H 5 3 VIEW
8th Sep 1900
7 Rochdale Hornets L H 10 3 VIEW
15th Sep 1900
7 Warrington L A 0 0 VIEW
22nd Sep 1900
7 Runcorn L H 0 11 VIEW
24th Sep 1900
6 Huddersfield * Fr A 15 2 VIEW
29th Sep 1900
7 Wigan L H 16 9 VIEW
6th Oct 1900
7 Stockport L H 3 0 1 VIEW
13th Oct 1900
7 Oldham L A 2 22 VIEW
27th Oct 1900
7 Millom L H 2 4 1 VIEW
10th Nov 1900
7 Wigan L A 8 8 1 VIEW
17th Nov 1900
7 Salford L H 2 13 1 VIEW
24th Nov 1900
7 Warrington L H 0 7 VIEW
1st Dec 1900
7 Stockport L A 0 5 VIEW
8th Dec 1900
6 Batley* Fr A 0 5 VIEW
24th Dec 1900
6 Warrington BTCSF A 5 6 1 VIEW
26th Dec 1900
3 Leigh L H 0 12 VIEW
12th Jan 1901
8 Leigh L A 0 5 VIEW
2nd Mar 1901
7 Goole CC1 A 12 2 1 2 VIEW
13th Mar 1901
8 Stockport CC2(rep) A 11 5 VIEW
16th Mar 1901
8 Swinton L A 2 19 1 VIEW
5th Apr 1901
8 Salford L A 7 16 1 VIEW
6th Apr 1901
8 Barrow L H 0 5 VIEW
15th Apr 1901
8 Widnes LPO N 3 0 VIEW
7th Dec 1901
12 Radcliffe L H 23 6 4 VIEW
25th Dec 1901
12 Hull Kingston Rovers L H 12 3 3 VIEW
26th Dec 1901
12 Leigh SWLL H 11 8 1 VIEW
1st Jan 1902
14 Rochdale Hornets L H 7 5 1 VIEW
4th Jan 1902
14 Altrincham L A 11 0 1 VIEW
11th Jan 1902
14 Hull Kingston Rovers L A 7 15 VIEW
1st Feb 1902
12 Altrincham L H 35 0 VIEW
22nd Feb 1902
15 Leigh SWLL A 3 13 1 VIEW
5th Apr 1902
12 Birkenhead Wanderers L H 13 0 2 VIEW
12th Apr 1902
12 Wigan L & SWLL A 2 11 VIEW
23rd Apr 1902
12 Morecambe L A 10 9 2 VIEW
14th Feb 1903
6 Warrington CC1 H 6 3 2 VIEW
21st Feb 1903
6 Rochdale Hornets CC2 H 2 8 1 VIEW
13th Apr 1903
7 Salford L A 3 11 VIEW
18th Apr 1903
7 Wigan L A 5 3 VIEW
25th Apr 1903
7 Widnes L H 8 3 1 1 VIEW
1st Sep 1903
6 Leigh SWLL A 5 2 1 VIEW
5th Sep 1903
6 Dewsbury L H 29 5 VIEW
24th Oct 1903
6 Morecambe L A 2 2 1 VIEW
5th Dec 1903
6 Pontefract L A 10 3 2 VIEW
26th Dec 1903
7 Lancaster L OBJ A 3 10 VIEW
16th Jan 1904
7 Barrow L A 8 0 1 VIEW
25th Dec 1907
6 Runcorn L A 0 19 VIEW
26th Dec 1907
10 Barrow L A 8 9 VIEW
28th Dec 1907
10 Bramley L H 16 3 1 VIEW
4th Jan 1908
1 Wigan L A 5 35 VIEW
15th Feb 1908
1 Ebbw Vale L A 5 3 1 VIEW
7th Mar 1908
13 Hunslet L A 6 21 VIEW
14th Mar 1908
13 Bradford L A 10 17 2 VIEW
21st Mar 1908
13 Oldham L H 5 14 1 VIEW
4th Apr 1908
13 Warrington L A 5 20 VIEW
18th Apr 1908
13 Barrow L H 15 5 3 VIEW
20th Apr 1908
13 Leigh L H 5 5 1 VIEW
21st Apr 1908
13 Bramley L A 13 16 2 VIEW
26th Sep 1908
6 Bradford Northern L A 12 31 1 VIEW
1st Jan 1909
11 York L A 0 16 VIEW
20th Mar 1909
13 Leigh * Fr H 20 6 VIEW
30th Oct 1915
8 Broughton Rangers * Fr WEL H 11 11 1 VIEW
11th Dec 1915
10 Runcorn * Fr WEL H 6 2 VIEW
24th Feb 1917
10 Warrington* Fr WEL A 8 9 VIEW
17th Mar 1917
11 Barrow* Fr WEL H 6 3 VIEW
31st Mar 1917
11 Salford* Fr WEL H 8 6 VIEW
6th Apr 1917
11 Wigan* Fr WEL A 3 25 VIEW
21st Apr 1917
11 Broughton Rangers* Fr WEL A 11 6 VIEW
*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.
WINS : 36 | LOSSES : 32 | DRAWS : 5


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