James Robinson by SHS, with additional information from Mike Latham
The St. Helens Reporter on 26th September 1944 had some good rugby league news to purvey to its readers: “Next Saturday St. Helens play Halifax at home. I need hardly remind the football public that Halifax are first class visitors St. Helens after their great win at Oldham are out to prove it was no flash in the pan and they’ll have Jimmy Robinson, English centre, playing for them.”
Yes indeed, it was quite a coup to have an international centre playing at Knowsley Road for the Saints, when players could guest by permission, sometimes a result of where they had been posted in the Services. James, better known as Jimmy, came from Castleford RLFC and won his solitary England cap against Wales in 1944. In terms of his Castleford career, he played 184 times, from 1938-1953 and won the Yorkshire League with them in 1938-39.
For his senior match at Knowsley Road, Jimmy was in the left centre position with local lad Aubrey Gregory outside him. The great Stan Brogden was in the other centre berth. It was difficult for Jimmy to make too much of an impression during the match. He produced some nice touches, but could not prevent the Saints going down by 21-7. Jimmy also played in a friendly fixture against Wigan in April 1945, with the Saints winning this time. He also guested for Wigan in 1944, scoring a try in his one-and-only appearance for the Riversiders.
Mike Latham has done quite a bit of research on this player, which make interesting reading.
He played 2 games for Highfield in 1931-32. Jimmy was described as promising, but not physically robust. His debut was against Wakefield Trinity on 26 March 1932. Jimmy was a former Sutton Manor amateur, one of several St Helens amateurs signed by Highfield at the time. He reappeared on the scene with Liverpool Stanley in 1934-35, much more robust and played 39 games, scoring 7 tries as a winger in 1934-35. He became a stalwart of the Stanley side that earned two top four finishes in the next two seasons. Overall, he played 169 games for Stanley, scoring 30 tries, before his transfer to Castleford.
At Castleford, he played in 157 matches, scoring 25 tries and kicking 3 goals from 12 November 1938 to 21 February 1939. Jimmy lost in the Championship play-off final, when Castleford were beaten by 6-8 by Salford, despite scoring a try. There were 69,504 spectators present. He played wartime games for Saints [v Halifax], Wigan and his former club Liverpool Stanley and was an England representative against Wales in 1944. His brother Joe played for Warrington and Widnes and it is believed he died in St Helens in 1978.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|30th Sep 1944||
|28th Apr 1945||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 1 | LOSSES : 1 | DRAWS :|
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