Albert Doyle

OVERALL STATISTICS

BIRTHAGESIGNED ONFROMDEBUTLAST MATCHLEFT
10-10-1921
N/A
21-11-1945
Halifax
07-09-1940 v Liverpool Stanley
Buslingthorpe Vale
1948- when he Retired
CAREERAPPEARANCES (SUBS)TRIESGOALSDGOALSPTS
1940-1947
89 (0)
68
7
0
218

BIOGRAPHY

Albert Edward Doyle was born in Warwick Street within a stones throw of Knowsley Road. He went to St Luke’s school followed by Cowley, where he won several trophies for sprinting. He was refused a trial with Saints despite his prowess as vice captain of Cowley school team, because he was “too small”. So he went into junior rugby with the Pilkingtons Sheet Works team, and in March 1939, he was chosen to play for England amateurs, against France in Bordeaux.

Later that year, a scout from Halifax saw him playing for the Pilkingtons team. Trials at Thrum Hall followed, and Albert, better known as “Sonny”, made his first team debut for Halifax on Christmas Day 1939, after just one game with the “A” team. During the war, Sonny was a navigator in the RAF, but he continued to play for Halifax whenever he could get leave, his squadron was based in England and he played for them in two Challenge Cup finals. He scored 25 tries for Halifax in his 34 games, but he was desperate to play for his home town club.

At the end of the war, he asked for a transfer to St Helens, and this time Saints were only too happy to sign him up. On 17th November 1945, he stepped straight into the first team for a home game against Dewsbury, and has the unusual record of never having played in Saints “A” team. Soon he was running in the tries, aided by a terrific acceleration from a standing start, and by the brilliant centre play of Jimmy Stott. Sonny was consistently among the League’s leading scorers. In each of the seasons 45-46, 46-47 and 47-48, he was the Saints leading try scorer. In 47-48 however, his career was to come to a premature end. In March 1947, while playing in a challenge cup match at Warrington, he went down after a loose ball with Brian Bevan and Duggie Greenall and suffered several broken fingers. It was the beginning of the end.

He did play again the following season, and it was then that he scored what he regarded as his most memorable try. On 25th September, the New Zealand tourists were playing at Knowsley Road. After taking a pass from Stott in his own half, Sonny flashed 50 yards up the wing, raced up to Warwick Clarke and sidestepped him comprehensively, scoring under the posts with a trail of New Zealand players in his wake. Although he played a further 32 games after the Warrington cup tie, his injury never healed properly, and every time he caught his hand in a tackle he went through pain which he described as “excruciating”. His last game was on 14th February 1948 at Knowsley Road in a challenge cup game against amateur team Buslingthorpe Vale in which he scored 4 tries. He was just 26 years old.

Albert Doyle is still 51st on the all-time list of top try scorers for the Saints - a feat even more creditable when you think of his low appearances total. Indeed his try strike rate of 0.76 is one of the highest in the history of the club.

Contributed by "Sonny`s son" - Graham Doyle.

We have received much of the following information from Alan Doyle, who is Albert’s brother and lives in Folkestone:

Albert Sonny Doyle made 89 appearances for the Saints both during and after the Second World War, scoring 68 tries and kicking 7 goals, for s haul of 218 points. Sonny was a real flyer, who took part in the Powderhall Sprint and represented the England amateur rugby league team in Bordeaux on 19th March 1939. His centre was Jimmy Stott. Sonny played for Halifax during the war years, making 34 appearances and scoring 25 tries. Why Sonny? Alan explains: “He got his nickname because there were three nephews who all had the first name Albert. My brother became Sonny and the other two lads, who lived in Balfour Street, were thence known as Timmy and Jock. Of course Jock Johnson became a fantastic player with Warrington.”

Sonny, who grew up in Mulberry Avenue, close to Eric Ashton, made 89 appearances for the Saints, scoring 69 tries. “In 1947 he played against the New Zealanders,” remembers Alan. “Jimmy Stott was his centre and he scored a brilliant try, with all the New Zealand players trailing in his wake.”

He was ‘flyer’ in another sense too. Sonny joined the RAF and became an accomplished navigator, flying in two types of aircraft, the Albemarle and Halifax. In fact, Sonny was an integral part of the D Day operations, when he was in one of the many aircraft towing gliders as part of Operation Overlord during the Normandy invasion. “From what we can gather,” adds Alan, “the glider missed the exact drop zone, designated as ‘N’ and landed in a school field. The objective of the troops was to secure a vital communication point at Pegasus Bridge. This had to be held at all costs. It was the main route that German reinforcements could go through to threaten the troops who were disembarking on the beaches. Without the bridge being secured, the D Day operation would have been in jeopardy. He later took part in Operation Market Garden, to capture the bridge at Arnhem and took gliders over as part of Montgomery’s crossing of the Rhine.”

Albert left the forces after the war and resumed work in the offices at Pilkingtons. His career ended prematurely, according to Alan, on a ‘sand and cement’ surface at Wilderspool when he hurt his hand trying to tackle Warrington winger Brian Bevan. It was several years before the injury began to show any significant improvement. Albert later joined the RAF Voluntary Reserve but it was closed down and he subsequently joined the Territorial Army, with the equivalent rank of Flight Lieutenant. He passed away at the age of 58 in 1980.

SEASON STATISTICS

Season (Official Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1940~41 9 1 0 8
1941~42 2 0 0 2
1945~46 14 0 0 20
1946~4720 0 0 33
1947~48 23 6 0 26
TOTALS:68 7 0 89
Season (Other Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
TOTALS:

ALL MATCHES

DatePosOpponentsCompSeasonVenueFTFTOTGDGNPS**
7th Sep 1940 W 2 Liverpool Stanley WEL 1940~41 H 32 15 2 1 V
21st Sep 1940 W 2 Swinton WEL 1940~41 H 41 0 2 V
28th Sep 1940 W 2 Oldham WEL 1940~41 A 16 5 1 V
5th Oct 1940 W 2 Leigh WEL 1940~41 H 44 8 2 V
12th Oct 1940 W 2 Liverpool Stanley WEL 1940~41 A 26 11 1 V
19th Oct 1940 W 2 Salford WEL 1940~41 H 6 0 1 V
26th Oct 1940 L 2 Salford WEL 1940~41 A 13 15 V
2nd Nov 1940 L 2 Warrington WEL 1940~41 H 0 13 V
22nd Nov 1941 W 5 Keighley WEL 1941~42 H 17 11 2 V
29th Nov 1941 L 2 Castleford WEL 1941~42 A 5 12 V
17th Nov 1945 L 2 Dewsbury L 1945~46 H 7 13 V
8th Dec 1945 W 2 York L 1945~46 H 22 7 V
22nd Dec 1945 L 2 Workington Town L 1945~46 H 5 20 V
25th Dec 1945 W 2 Liverpool Stanley L 1945~46 A 26 3 1 V
29th Dec 1945 L 2 Workington Town L 1945~46 A 8 9 1 V
12th Jan 1946 L 2 Salford L 1945~46 H 6 13 V
26th Jan 1946 L 2 Batley L 1945~46 A 0 15 V
2nd Feb 1946 W 5 Swinton L 1945~46 H 7 5 1 V
9th Feb 1946 L 2 Castleford CC1(1) 1945~46 A 4 10 V
16th Feb 1946 W 2 Castleford CC1(2) 1945~46 H 14 5 3 V
2nd Mar 1946 L 2 Workington Town CC2 1945~46 H 6 13 1 V
23rd Mar 1946 L 5 Halifax L 1945~46 A 11 21 3 V
30th Mar 1946 L 2 Barrow L 1945~46 H 22 30 V
6th Apr 1946 L 2 York L 1945~46 A 14 33 1 V
10th Apr 1946 L 5 Salford L 1945~46 A 5 6 V
13th Apr 1946 L 5 Oldham L 1945~46 H 9 14 V
19th Apr 1946 L 2 Wigan L 1945~46 A 9 15 1 V
20th Apr 1946 L 2 Wakefield Trinity L 1945~46 A 10 32 V
22nd Apr 1946 W 2 Batley L 1945~46 H 15 7 1 V
27th Apr 1946 W 2 Hull K.R. L 1945~46 H 29 6 1 V
31st Aug 1946 L 5 Widnes L 1946~47 H 2 10 V
7th Sep 1946 L 5 Leigh LC1(1) 1946~47 H 5 14 V
14th Sep 1946 L 5 Leigh LC1(2) 1946~47 A 4 17 V
21st Sep 1946 L 5 Widnes L 1946~47 A 10 17 V
28th Sep 1946 L 5 Leigh L 1946~47 H 7 11 V
5th Oct 1946 L 5 Warrington L 1946~47 A 10 19 V
12th Oct 1946 W 5 Workington Town L 1946~47 H 12 7 V
19th Oct 1946 W 5 Salford L 1946~47 A 11 2 1 V
26th Oct 1946 W 5 Halifax L 1946~47 H 15 8 1 V
2nd Nov 1946 W 5 Oldham L 1946~47 A 7 3 1 V
9th Nov 1946 L 5 Swinton L 1946~47 H 11 15 1 V
16th Nov 1946 D 5 Belle Vue Rangers L 1946~47 A 10 10 2 V
23rd Nov 1946 L 5 Bramley L 1946~47 A 0 10 V
30th Nov 1946 W 5 Huddersfield L 1946~47 H 18 10 V
7th Dec 1946 L 5 Leigh L 1946~47 A 3 10 V
14th Dec 1946 W 5 Salford L 1946~47 H 9 8 1 V
25th Dec 1946 L 5 Liverpool Stanley L 1946~47 H 16 17 2 V
26th Dec 1946 L 5 Wigan L 1946~47 H 9 11 V
28th Dec 1946 L 5 Huddersfield L 1946~47 A 12 19 V
1st Jan 1947 L 5 Liverpool Stanley L 1946~47 A 7 8 V
4th Jan 1947 L 5 Leeds L 1946~47 A 5 20 V
11th Jan 1947 L 5 Leeds L 1946~47 H 7 8 V
18th Jan 1947 W 5 Featherstone Rovers L 1946~47 A 11 7 3 V
25th Jan 1947 W 5 Hull K.R. L 1946~47 H 29 16 1 V
8th Mar 1947 W 5 Keighley CC1(1) 1946~47 H 17 7 V
11th Mar 1947 L 5 Keighley CC1(2) 1946~47 N 5 8 V
22nd Mar 1947 L 5 Warrington CC2 1946~47 A 2 24 V
10th May 1947 W 5 Bramley L 1946~47 H 29 0 V
17th May 1947 W 5 Featherstone Rovers L 1946~47 H 35 0 1 V
24th May 1947 L 5 Barrow L 1946~47 A 9 15 V
26th May 1947 L 5 Halifax L 1946~47 A 9 10 1 V
31st May 1947 W 5 Barrow L 1946~47 H 36 7 3 V
7th Jun 1947 W 5 Rochdale Hornets L 1946~47 H 26 4 2 V
23rd Aug 1947 L 5 Widnes L 1947~48 A 8 9 V
30th Aug 1947 W 5 Leigh LC1(1) 1947~48 A 15 0 1 V
4th Sep 1947 W 5 Leigh LC1(2) 1947~48 H 31 5 1 V
6th Sep 1947 W 5 Salford L 1947~48 A 12 5 3 V
13th Sep 1947 W 5 Oldham L 1947~48 H 16 2 3 V
20th Sep 1947 W 5 York L 1947~48 A 31 3 3 V
25th Sep 1947 L 5 New Zealand Tour 1947~48 H 5 11 1 V
29th Sep 1947 L 5 Wigan LC2 1947~48 H 7 8 1 V
4th Oct 1947 W 5 Swinton L 1947~48 H 24 3 2 V
11th Oct 1947 L 5 Wakefield Trinity L 1947~48 A 7 10 V
18th Oct 1947 W 5 Workington Town L 1947~48 H 14 3 1 V
25th Oct 1947 W 5 Hull K.R. L 1947~48 H 14 9 V
8th Nov 1947 L 5 Belle Vue Rangers L 1947~48 H 0 9 V
15th Nov 1947 W 5 Liverpool Stanley L 1947~48 H 23 8 2 1 V
22nd Nov 1947 L 5 Liverpool Stanley L 1947~48 A 7 10 V
29th Nov 1947 W 5 Salford L 1947~48 H 31 10 2 V
6th Dec 1947 D 5 Hunslet L 1947~48 H 13 13 V
13th Dec 1947 W 5 Halifax L 1947~48 A 6 2 V
20th Dec 1947 L 5 Hunslet L 1947~48 A 5 11 V
26th Dec 1947 W 5 Wigan L 1947~48 H 13 6 V
3rd Jan 1948 W 5 Swinton L 1947~48 A 6 3 2 V
10th Jan 1948 L 5 Warrington L 1947~48 H 2 8 V
17th Jan 1948 L 5 Hull K.R. L 1947~48 A 10 17 1 V
24th Jan 1948 L 5 Rochdale Hornets L 1947~48 H 8 9 1 V
31st Jan 1948 L 2 Workington Town L 1947~48 A 0 20 V
7th Feb 1948 W 2 Bustlingthorpe Vale CC1(1) 1947~48 H 48 0 4 V
*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.
CALCULATED APPEARANCES : OFFICIAL 89 OTHER 0 = 89
ACTUAL APPEARANCES (inc 0 Subs) = 89

GALLERY


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