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Arthur Saunders by Alex Service
During the first fifteen years of the 20th century, a number of players found their way to Knowsley Road from the other side of Billinge Lump. A number of them were surplus to requirements at the 'all star' Wigan club and Saints were there to give them another chance to shine. When young Saunders made his debut against Coventry, the St. Helens Newspaper described it as 'promising' in the headline at the top of the match report. The Saints won rather convincingly by 31-2, with scrum-half Fred Trenwith scoring four tries and winning himself an overcoat donated by a local trader and Saints' fan!. But back to Saunders. His background was duly explained in the St. Helens Newspaper: 'The Saints' forwards were in good trim in the scrum and in the loose. Saunders, who has been displaying fine form with the A team was given his chance and he made the most of it. Though he was ever to the fore in open work, it may as well be recognised also that his inclusion strengthened the pack so far as scrummage work is concerned. He is undoubtedly a brilliant open forward and might make a fine substitute in the threequarter line'.
The Newspaper seven days later was still in thrall about his appearance seven days before: 'Returning to last Saturday's match, one of the most interesting features was the first appearance in the senior team of the new forward from Wigan, Saunders. This well set up youth started his career with a rugby union club and later was invited to sign on for Wigan as an amateur and played in the third Team in several matches. Seeing small chance of advancement there, however, owing to the amount of at the command of the Wiagn club and his agreement entitling him to transfer wherever he wished, Saunders approached the Saints and after several trials with the second team in which he acquitted himself with credit, he was duly signed on by the officials and made his debut against Coventry. The Saints have apparently got hold of a splendid forward and one who uses his brains in his work'.
This was quite a glowing tribute to Saunders, although he managed just 13 appearances for the Saints. His last was at home to Salford, on 22nd March 1913, when the homesters won 6-0. The initial assessments of his pace were quite accurate and he did play several games in the backs, so he was very mobile indeed. We have Arthur as living in Warrington Lane, Wigan in the 1911 Census. His occupation is listed as a General Labourer. By 1939, it would appear that Arthur had fallen on hard times and the Census reveals that he was resident in Winwick Mental Hospital. His death is recorded in March 1962 in Newton le Willows at the age of 69.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|16th Dec 1911||
|25th Dec 1911||
|26th Dec 1911||
|13th Jan 1912||
|27th Jan 1912||
|17th Feb 1912||
|7th Sep 1912||
|28th Sep 1912||
|5th Oct 1912||
|19th Oct 1912||
|1st Mar 1913||
|8th Mar 1913||
|22nd Mar 1913||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 7 | LOSSES : 5 | DRAWS : 1|
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