John Wills

OVERALL STATISTICS

BIRTHAGESIGNED ONFROM
10-11-1948
N/A
05-11-1968
Pilkington Recs
DEBUTLAST MATCHLEFT
09-11-1968 v Doncaster
Warrington
1974- Bradford Northern
CAREERAPPEARANCES (SUBS)
1968-1973
134 (21)
TRIESGOALSDGOALSPTS
34
0
0
102

Biography of John Wills



HERITAGE NO : 857
John Wills was a very versatile back who played for the Saints from November 1968 to May 1974. He played in the centres, on the wing and at full back during this time. A local lad, john possessed a great pair of hands, good passing game and solid defence. In 134 matches for the Saints he scored 34 tries including a hat trick in the away victory over Keighley on the 15th of January, 1972. John was unlucky when it came to finals football. In 1972 he played in the two Challenge Cup semi finals against Warrington but missed out on the Wembley final. In the same year he also played in the Championship semi final but again missed out on the Final. John carried on his career at Bradford Northern after his days at Knowsley Road.

Dave Dooley

John Wills an appreciation by Adrian Lawrenson

In the autumn of 1968, Saints were coming to terms with the loss of two superstar wingers, Tom van Vollenhoven and Len Killeen. The players who had the herculean task of replacing such icons were a young local lad, Les Jones and a convert from Welsh rugby union, Frank Wilson. Both in the long term had stellar careers but it cannot be denied that early on in the first team they had teething problems.

It was felt that a third winger would add to the squad’s options and on 5th November 1968, 19 year old John Wills was signed from Pilkington Recs to provide cover on the flanks. In line with his signing day, John wasn’t to provide any fireworks but he was a solid reliable player who was just what was needed. He made his debut at Doncaster in a 22-8 victory at their iconic Tattersfield ground.

It was also becoming obvious that following Frankie Barrow’s recovery from a broken leg and the passing of years, a long-term solution was also required in the full-back position. As rugby league has evolved, the full-back position has evolved too. From the days of kicking duels between Jimmy Lowe and Jimmy Ledgard [Leigh] when the full-back was called a custodian to the game-changing breaks of Ben Barba and Lachlan Coote, we have progressed immeasurably.

In the 1960s, the full-back was seen as a last line of defence first and any attacking prowess was seen as a bonus, almost the equivalent of a goalkeeper in football. John was pencilled in to play full-back at Headingley on 16th January 1971 and used his reliable qualities to good effect for a spell during the 1970-71 campaign. However, Saints signed Geoff Pimblett, initially as a stand-off, but he went on to cement the full-back position and John was back on the fringes of the first team squad. He was nothing if not adaptable, however and would turn out at centre or wing and in character produced solid performances.

One of his more heroic efforts was on Boxing Day 1974 when a badly depleted Saints’ team went to Central Park. John turned out in the second row and helped the lads to a famous 20-10 win. John’s last game in the red vee was the Club Championship Final against Warrington at Central Park, Wigan, when he played centre in the 12-13 loss to Alex Murphy’s Wires. His final statistics were 134 appearances, with 21 from the bench, together with 34 tries in what was atop class Saints’ team of the time. He moved on to an emerging Bradford Northern in 1974, who recognised his qualities of which deceptive strength and sheer durability were two essential boxes he ticked.


SEASON STATISTICS

Season (Official Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1968~693 0 0 12
1970~71 3 0 0 18
1971~7214 0 0 38
1972~73 7 0 0 33
1973~74 7 0 0 35
TOTALS:34 0 0 136
Season (Other Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1973~74 0001
TOTALS:0001

ALL MATCHES

DateMatchPosOpponentsCompVenueFTFTOTGDG
9th Nov 1968 1
W
5 Doncaster L A 22 8 VIEW
11th Nov 1968 2
W
5 Hull Kingston Rovers L H 21 5 1 VIEW
26th Nov 1968 3
W
5 Hull FT2 H 14 10 VIEW
4th Dec 1968 4
W
2 Blackpool Borough L H 13 10 VIEW
10th Dec 1968 5
W
5 Warrington FTSF H 29 6 VIEW
17th Dec 1968 6
L
5 Wigan FTF A 4 7 VIEW
14th Jan 1969 7
W
2 Wigan L H 13 3 VIEW
18th Jan 1969 8
W
5 Rochdale Hornets L H 17 7 2 VIEW
25th Jan 1969 9
W
2 Hull CC1 A 13 3 VIEW
25th Feb 1969 10
W
2 Oldham CC2 A 15 6 VIEW
6th Mar 1969 11
W
2 Huyton L H 37 6 VIEW
11th Mar 1969 12
W
5 Barrow L H 32 7 VIEW
15th Sep 1970 13
W
5 Halifax L H 22 7 VIEW
26th Sep 1970 14
W
5 Hull Kingston Rovers L H 38 3 2 VIEW
6th Nov 1970 15
W
2 Hull L A 16 2 VIEW
12th Dec 1970 --NPS
W
14 Castleford L H 9 5 VIEW
19th Dec 1970 16
W
14 Bramley L H 34 0 VIEW
16th Jan 1971 17
L
1 Leeds L A 5 12 VIEW
23rd Jan 1971 18
W
1 Workington Town CC1 A 8 6 VIEW
30th Jan 1971 19
W
1 Whitehaven L H 27 5 VIEW
6th Feb 1971 20
W
1 Salford L H 26 4 VIEW
13th Feb 1971 21
L
1 Castleford L A 6 12 VIEW
20th Feb 1971 22
L
1 Leeds CC2 A 0 4 VIEW
27th Feb 1971 23
W
1 Whitehaven L A 15 8 VIEW
6th Mar 1971 24
W
1 Featherstone Rovers L H 23 16 VIEW
13th Mar 1971 25
W
1 Hull Kingston Rovers L A 26 9 VIEW
20th Mar 1971 26
W
1 Swinton L H 40 0 VIEW
22nd Mar 1971 27
W
1 Leeds L H 30 9 VIEW
2nd Apr 1971 28
W
5 Widnes L A 8 5 1 VIEW
9th Apr 1971 29
W
2 Wigan L A 9 6 VIEW
10th Apr 1971 30
W
2 Batley L A 27 4 VIEW
11th Sep 1971 31
W
2 Wakefield Trinity L A 23 12 2 VIEW
18th Sep 1971 32
W
5 Halifax L H 14 10 VIEW
21st Sep 1971 33
W
5 Swinton FT1 A 14 9 VIEW
2nd Oct 1971 34
W
5 Salford L H 23 12 VIEW
9th Oct 1971 35
L
5 Bramley L A 10 15 VIEW
18th Oct 1971 36
W
5 Oldham L H 50 2 VIEW
23rd Oct 1971 37
L
5 Huddersfield L A 15 17 VIEW
25th Oct 1971 38
W
4 Batley L H 35 5 VIEW
30th Oct 1971 39
W
2 Bramley L H 37 4 1 VIEW
6th Nov 1971 40
W
2 Dewsbury L A 4 2 VIEW
9th Nov 1971 41
W
2 Leigh FT2 A 13 4 VIEW
13th Nov 1971 42
W
2 Featherstone Rovers JP1 H 37 7 VIEW
20th Nov 1971 --NPS
W
14 Castleford L H 14 2 VIEW
27th Nov 1971 43
W
14 Whitehaven JP2 A 12 0 VIEW
4th Dec 1971 44
W
2 Oldham L A 28 0 1 VIEW
11th Dec 1971 45
W
14 Hull JP3 H 33 5 VIEW
27th Dec 1971 46
L
2 Wigan L A 3 8 VIEW
1st Jan 1972 47
W
2 Widnes L H 33 5 1 VIEW
8th Jan 1972 48
W
2 Wakefield Trinity L H 18 12 VIEW
15th Jan 1972 49
W
2 Keighley L A 24 4 3 VIEW
22nd Jan 1972 50
D
2 Leeds L H 15 15 1 VIEW
29th Jan 1972 51
W
2 Oldham CC1 A 8 6 VIEW
12th Feb 1972 52
W
2 Leigh L H 20 7 VIEW
19th Feb 1972 53
W
2 Huddersfield CC2 H 32 9 VIEW
26th Feb 1972 54
L
5 Hull Kingston Rovers L A 2 5 VIEW
11th Mar 1972 55
W
3 Huddersfield L H 27 0 1 VIEW
14th Mar 1972 56
W
5 Hull Kingston Rovers L H 29 2 VIEW
18th Mar 1972 57
W
2 Dewsbury L H 16 14 1 VIEW
24th Mar 1972 58
W
2 Salford L A 7 0 VIEW
27th Mar 1972 59
W
2 Halifax L A 19 5 2 VIEW
31st Mar 1972 60
W
2 Wigan L H 21 4 VIEW
3rd Apr 1972 61
L
2 Widnes L A 9 19 VIEW
6th Apr 1972 62
W
2 Workington Town L A 19 10 VIEW
8th Apr 1972 63
W
2 Hull L A 17 7 VIEW
15th Apr 1972 64
D
2 Warrington CCSF N 10 10 VIEW
19th Apr 1972 65
W
2 Warrington CCSF(rep) N 10 6 VIEW
22nd Apr 1972 66
W
2 Hull Kingston Rovers Ch1 H 25 5 VIEW
28th Apr 1972 67
W
2 Rochdale Hornets Ch2 H 17 5 1 VIEW
4th May 1972 68
W
14 Bradford Northern ChSF A 14 10 VIEW
22nd Aug 1972 69
W
3 Warrington L H 15 11 VIEW
25th Aug 1972 --NPS
W
14 Huyton L H 41 2 VIEW
28th Aug 1972 --NPS
W
14 Huyton L A 47 6 VIEW
3rd Sep 1972 70
W
14 Warrington LC1 A 18 16 VIEW
8th Sep 1972 71
W
14 Leigh L H 9 2 VIEW
13th Sep 1972 72
L
2 Widnes LC2 A 2 13 VIEW
17th Sep 1972 73
L
3 Featherstone Rovers L A 14 19 VIEW
23rd Sep 1972 74
W
4 Halifax JP1 A 22 20 1 VIEW
29th Sep 1972 --NPS
W
14 Swinton L H 33 12 VIEW
10th Oct 1972 --NPS
L
14 Leeds FT1 H 6 14 VIEW
13th Oct 1972 75
W
3 Bradford Northern L H 22 8 VIEW
22nd Oct 1972 --NPS
W
14 Dewsbury L A 17 12 VIEW
27th Oct 1972 76
W
4 Featherstone Rovers L H 33 8 1 VIEW
3rd Nov 1972 77
W
4 Dewsbury L H 12 7 VIEW
24th Nov 1972 78
W
14 Featherstone Rovers JP2 H 24 8 VIEW
1st Dec 1972 79
W
3 Oldham L H 24 10 VIEW
9th Dec 1972 80
W
3 Widnes JP3 H 10 3 VIEW
15th Dec 1972 81
L
3 Workington Town L H 12 14 1 VIEW
24th Dec 1972 82
W
14 Blackpool Borough L A 33 14 VIEW
26th Dec 1972 83
D
14 Wigan L H 15 15 VIEW
1st Jan 1973 84
W
14 Widnes L A 22 10 1 VIEW
13th Jan 1973 85
L
2 Leeds JPSF A 0 19 VIEW
20th Jan 1973 86
W
2 Leeds L A 5 2 1 VIEW
26th Jan 1973 87
W
2 Doncaster CC1 H 41 0 VIEW
30th Jan 1973 88
W
2 Rochdale Hornets L H 22 7 1 VIEW
2nd Feb 1973 89
W
2 Barrow L H 33 2 VIEW
11th Feb 1973 90
L
2 Warrington L A 11 13 VIEW
18th Feb 1973 --NPS
L
14 Wigan CC2 A 2 15 VIEW
7th Mar 1973 91
L
3 Swinton L A 7 11 VIEW
11th Mar 1973 92
L
4 Whitehaven L A 7 9 VIEW
16th Mar 1973 93
W
1 Salford L H 21 4 VIEW
25th Mar 1973 94
W
2 Leigh L A 11 7 1 VIEW
27th Mar 1973 95
W
2 Leeds L H 19 12 VIEW
30th Mar 1973 96
W
1 Whitehaven L H 15 9 VIEW
6th Apr 1973 97
W
1 Barrow L A 6 5 VIEW
23rd Apr 1973 98
W
1 Widnes L H 15 5 VIEW
27th Apr 1973 99
W
1 Leigh Ch1 H 29 14 VIEW
2nd May 1973 100
W
1 Wakefield Trinity Ch2 H 28 0 VIEW
6th May 1973 101
L
3 Leeds ChSF A 2 7 VIEW
10th Aug 1973 --
L
1 Salford * Fr Gallie Cup H 15 18 VIEW
17th Aug 1973 --NPS
W
14 Whitehaven L H 26 19 VIEW
20th Aug 1973 102
W
3 Barrow FTP(1) A 12 6 VIEW
24th Aug 1973 103
W
14 Leigh L A 23 2 VIEW
27th Aug 1973 104
W
14 Barrow FTP(2) H 20 8 1 VIEW
2nd Sep 1973 105
L
4 Workington Town LC1 A 5 11 VIEW
7th Sep 1973 106
W
1 Wakefield Trinity L H 30 9 VIEW
15th Sep 1973 107
W
14 Featherstone Rovers JP1 H 34 16 VIEW
21st Sep 1973 108
W
14 Whitehaven L A 26 7 VIEW
30th Sep 1973 109
W
3 Dewsbury L A 21 8 VIEW
5th Oct 1973 110
W
14 Hull Kingston Rovers L H 39 15 VIEW
13th Oct 1973 111
L
14 Leeds L A 15 20 1 VIEW
16th Oct 1973 112
W
14 Whitehaven FT1 H 35 5 VIEW
19th Oct 1973 --NPS
W
14 Warrington L H 24 6 VIEW
28th Oct 1973 113
W
14 Castleford L A 17 7 1 VIEW
6th Nov 1973 --NPS
W
14 Rochdale Hornets FT2 H 15 7 VIEW
11th Nov 1973 114
W
2 Warrington L A 11 5 VIEW
13th Nov 1973 115
W
2 Australia Tour H 11 7 VIEW
18th Nov 1973 116
W
1 Dewsbury L H 35 3 VIEW
25th Nov 1973 117
W
14 Hull Kingston Rovers L A 14 9 VIEW
4th Dec 1973 118
L
3 Bramley FTSF A 12 13 VIEW
8th Dec 1973 119
L
14 Oldham L A 11 12 VIEW
16th Dec 1973 120
W
12 Whitehaven JP2 H 28 2 VIEW
22nd Dec 1973 121
L
14 Featherstone Rovers L A 8 13 VIEW
26th Dec 1973 122
W
12 Wigan L A 20 10 VIEW
6th Jan 1974 123
W
12 Wakefield Trinity JP3 (rep) H 16 10 VIEW
12th Jan 1974 124
L
12 Warrington JPSF A 9 20 VIEW
20th Jan 1974 125
L
11 Rochdale Hornets L A 7 11 VIEW
27th Jan 1974 --NPS
W
14 Salford L A 12 11 VIEW
3rd Feb 1974 --NPS
W
14 Keighley CC1 H 27 5 VIEW
10th Feb 1974 --NPS
W
14 Featherstone Rovers L H 8 0 VIEW
10th Mar 1974 --NPS
L
14 Leigh CC3 A 5 11 VIEW
16th Mar 1974 126
W
3 Bramley L A 20 4 VIEW
19th Mar 1974 127
D
3 Salford L H 19 19 1 VIEW
24th Mar 1974 128
W
4 Leigh L H 44 5 VIEW
26th Mar 1974 --NPS
L
15 Widnes L H 0 5 VIEW
31st Mar 1974 129
W
3 Oldham L H 33 12 VIEW
5th Apr 1974 --NPS
W
14 Leeds L H 17 5 VIEW
10th Apr 1974 130
W
14 Wakefield Trinity L A 15 2 VIEW
12th Apr 1974 131
D
14 Wigan L H 9 9 VIEW
15th Apr 1974 132
L
4 Widnes L A 9 12 VIEW
17th Apr 1974 133
W
4 Bramley L H 19 13 1 VIEW
20th Apr 1974 134
W
3 Workington Town MCC1 H 24 7 1 VIEW
28th Apr 1974 --NPS
W
14 Castleford MCC2 H 25 9 VIEW
3rd May 1974 135
W
3 Leeds MCCSF A 23 10 1 VIEW
18th May 1974 136
L
3 Warrington MCCF N 12 13 VIEW
*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.
WINS : 119 | LOSSES : 31 | DRAWS : 5

GALLERY







Copyright © Saints Heritage Society 1999-2022