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|Albert Bacon by Alex Service |
Albert Ned Bacon was essentially a professional sprinter, who turned to rugby when times were harder for him to get opponents to run against him. He played as a wing threequarter for the Saints, where his pace could be a real asset to the team. When he made his debut in 1902, Bob Doherty from Cumbria was his centre. The 1901 Census lists Ned as a labourer, who lived in Rigby Street aged 24. Although he played relatively few matches for the Saints, Bob had many stories to tell about his time at Knowsley Road. He could have played many more matches in the reserves.
Ned Bacon highlights of a feature by Keith Macklin originally written in May 1958
Fish could not beat Bacon
Albert Edwin Bacon, known as Ned played with Frank Mooney, Bob Doherty, Frank Lee, Ralph Banks, Cuddy Pennington and the late greats of old St.Helens. Ned Bacon played only three seasons for St.Helens. His reason was a good one. He was one of the finest professional sprinters in Lancashire, and a tenner or two at the end of a flashing 100-yards sprint was much easier to come by, and much more valuable than the half-crown or five bob that was a footballer’s pittance in the primitive days.
As Ned said in his genuine St.Helens dialect: “I was the finest runner in Lancashire, but I couldn’t get a match with anyone so I took up football.” Then, when football proved anything but a profitable game, with the risk of injury always present, Ned returned to the running track, where he would race anyone for any sidestake up to £100 over the sprint distances.
In the three seasons in which he played for the Saints Ned recorded his fair share of memories. He played regularly for the First Team as a wing threequarter and remembers stripping at the old Cambridge pub in the days when luxury dressing rooms were unknown.
Ned waxes most eloquent and humorous when he talks about his great duels with Jack Fish, the Warrington winger. Says Ned: Jack Fish was the finest threequarter who ever walked onto a football field. But he never could gerr o’er me! That’s what always ailed ‘im. I could lerr ‘im ‘ave a start and still catch ‘im. Once he got so nowt tharr ‘e bosted mi nose and stuck a sod in mi mouth. T’crowd didn’t see that, but when I got me own back t’crowd shouted ‘he’s a nowty little so-and-so yon man’”
In 1905 Ned Bacon decided that he could earn a better living on the running track than on the football field. Back to the professional sprints went Ned and it is worth recording that even at the age of 39 he was still among the best ‘pros’ in South Lancashire. For at that age he won the Leigh handicap race against strong opposition covering 67 yards in seven seconds.
Ned Bacon never played for Lancashire or for England, perhaps because he did not wait long enough, but he enjoyed his short spell with Saints, with his three tries against Normanton his golden memory.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|20th Sep 1902||L||2||Warrington||L||1902~03||H||5||18||V|
|27th Sep 1902||W||2||Brighouse Rovers||L||1902~03||A||4||3||V|
|4th Oct 1902||L||2||Swinton||L||1902~03||H||6||10||V|
|24th Jan 1903||L||2||Brighouse Rovers||L||1902~03||H||0||7||V|
|7th Feb 1903||L||2||Runcorn||L||1902~03||A||0||19||V|
|1st Sep 1903||W||5||Leigh||SWLL||1903~04||A||5||2||V|
|5th Sep 1903||W||5||Dewsbury||L||1903~04||H||29||5||V|
|12th Sep 1903||W||5||Birkenhead Wanderers||L||1903~04||A||3||0||V|
|19th Sep 1903||W||5||Barrow||L||1903~04||H||18||6||1||V|
|26th Sep 1903||L||5||Holbeck||L||1903~04||A||3||19||V|
|3rd Oct 1903||W||5||Normanton||L||1903~04||H||27||0||3||V|
|17th Oct 1903||W||5||York||L||1903~04||H||2||0||V|
|24th Oct 1903||D||5||Morecambe||L||1903~04||A||2||2||V|
|2nd Apr 1904||D||5||Runcorn||SWLL||1903~04||A||3||3||V|
|4th Apr 1904||L||5||Warrington||SWLL||1903~04||A||3||19||V|
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|CALCULATED APPEARANCES : OFFICIAL 15 OTHER 0 = 15|
|ACTUAL APPEARANCES (inc 0 Subs) = 15|