Josh Gaskell

OVERALL STATISTICS

BIRTHAGESIGNED ONFROMDEBUTLAST MATCHLEFT
09-06-1931
N/A
13-04-1949
United Services
20-03-1954 v Liverpool City
Hull
1957- Warrington
CAREERAPPEARANCES (SUBS)TRIESGOALSDGOALSPTS
1953-1956
50 (0)
11
0
0
33

BIOGRAPHY

Josh Gaskell by Alex Service

A local lad from the United Services junior club, Joseph Gaskell, known universally as ‘Josh’ came into the First Team on March 20th 1954 as a blind side prop, against Liverpool City at Knowsley Road. The Saints won 18-0 and 12,000 were there to see it. The front-row that day was Ayles, Blakemore and Gaskell. Josh went on to make 20 appearances in the 1954-55 campaign, although he only managed 5 in the First Team during 1955-56, the season when St.Helens won the Challenge Cup for the first time. He was disenchanted at not getting a game at Wembley. Roy Robinson took his place. Walter Delves had to cry-off originally from the squad through injury and Josh genuinely thought that he would be in consideration for a place in second row. On the Thursday before the big match, Roy Robinson was told by Coach Jim Sullivan that he would be in the side. “Needless to say, Josh was very upset,” remembers Denis Whittle. “The irony of it all was that up to that point Josh and Robbie were big mates and they lived in the same neck of the woods the ‘Bruk.’ Josh’s father had a billiard hall in Kirkland Street and it was also used for Union meetings. Josh lived in Kirkland Street for some of the time and Robbie lived in Albion Street.”

Josh kept on plugging away in the second row, making 24 appearances and scoring 7 tries in 1956-57. It was his last as a Saint before he went to Warrington. His greatest moment as a Saint was undoubtedly the famous tour match against the visiting Australians when all the pack scored. Not to be out-done, big Josh scored twice in a memorable 44-2 victory on 24th November 1956.

Josh worked as a drayman for Greenall Whitley, where he remained for many years. “He was a huge man in his playing days. Six feet and sixteen and a half stones,” recalls Denis. “He was very much the old type of front-rower.”

Josh passed away late in 2016. Here is an obituary:

It is sad to report that a Saints’ forward of the 1950s, John Gaskell, has passed away at the age of 85. A pupil of St. Mary’s Junior school and later Rivington Road, he began his rugby league career by playing for the United Services junior club, before attracting the attentions of St. Helens RFC.

John Gaskell, known universally as ‘Josh’ grew up close to a strip of land next to Beecham’s in an area of St. Helens town centre called the ‘Bruk.’ His father had a billiard hall in Kirkland Street which was also used for Union meetings. A strong and forceful forward, he came into the First Team on March 20th 1954 as a blind side prop, against Liverpool City at Knowsley Road. The Saints won 18-0 and 12,000 were there to see it. The front-row that day was Ayles, Blakemore and Gaskell. Josh went on to make 20 appearances in the 1954-55 campaign, although he only managed 5 in the First Team during 1955-56, the season when St. Helens won the Challenge Cup for the first time. Yet there was to be disappointment for Josh when, after Walter Delves was declared unfit, Roy Robinson was drafted into the Wembley team by Coach Jim Sullivan. Roy and Josh were mates at the time and Roy had grown up in nearby Albion Street.

Despite his disappointment, Josh kept on plugging away in the second row, making 24 appearances and scoring 7 tries in 1956-57. During the season, he played in the Lancashire Cup final against a powerful Oldham team at Central Park, Wigan, when the Saints lost 3-10. Yet his greatest moment in the red and white jersey was undoubtedly the famous tour match against the visiting Australians when all the pack scored. Not to be out-done, big Josh scored twice in a memorable 44-2 victory on 24th November 1956. All told, Josh made 50 appearances for the Saints, scoring 11 tries. He was later transferred to Warrington, where he played 61 times for the Wires, scoring another four tries.

Josh worked as a drayman for Greenall Whitley, where he remained for many years. “He was a huge man in his playing days. Six feet and sixteen and a half stones,” recalls local journalist Denis Whittle. “He was very much the old type of front-rower.” Josh was always a regular in the town centre and enjoyed talking rugby league with his friends. In recent years, however, his health had deteriorated and he was forced into a more sedentary role, much to his annoyance. A member of the Saints’ Players’ Association, Josh was so proud to have played for the club and rugby league was always the first topic of conversation when he met his friends in St. Helens town centre.

SEASON STATISTICS

Season (Official Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1953~540 0 0 1
1954~552 0 0 20
1955~562 0 0 5
1956~577 0 0 24
TOTALS:11 0 0 50
Season (Other Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1954~550001
1955~560001
TOTALS:0002

ALL MATCHES

DatePosOpponentsCompSeasonVenueFTFTOTGDGNPS**
20th Mar 1954 W 10 Liverpool City L 1953~54 H 18 0 V
7th Aug 1954 L 8 Barrow* Fr Ward Cup 1954~55 A 17 31 V
4th Sep 1954 L 8 Halifax L 1954~55 A 2 22 V
20th Sep 1954 L 12 Oldham LC2 1954~55 A 9 20 V
23rd Oct 1954 W 10 Whitehaven L 1954~55 H 30 3 V
30th Oct 1954 W 10 Widnes L 1954~55 A 8 2 V
6th Nov 1954 L 10 Workington Town L 1954~55 A 11 15 V
20th Nov 1954 W 12 Leeds L 1954~55 A 21 10 V
11th Dec 1954 W 12 Workington Town L 1954~55 H 16 2 V
18th Dec 1954 W 12 Rochdale Hornets L 1954~55 A 20 9 V
25th Dec 1954 L 10 Leigh L 1954~55 A 13 14 V
27th Dec 1954 W 12 Wigan L 1954~55 H 19 7 V
1st Jan 1955 W 12 Leigh L 1954~55 H 27 3 V
8th Jan 1955 L 10 Warrington L 1954~55 A 14 18 2 V
22nd Jan 1955 W 10 Wakefield Trinity L 1954~55 H 39 7 V
29th Jan 1955 W 10 Blackpool Borough L 1954~55 H 13 2 V
5th Feb 1955 W 10 Whitehaven L 1954~55 A 8 0 V
12th Feb 1955 W 10 Batley CC1 1954~55 A 15 2 V
19th Feb 1955 L 10 Oldham L 1954~55 A 2 9 V
5th Mar 1955 W 10 Keighley CC2 1954~55 A 3 2 V
12th Mar 1955 L 10 Swinton L 1954~55 A 4 7 V
19th Mar 1955 L 10 Workington Town CC3 1954~55 A 4 14 V
13th Aug 1955 L 10 Barrow* Fr Ward Cup 1955~56 H 17 31 V
3rd Sep 1955 W 10 York L 1955~56 H 26 18 V
10th Sep 1955 W 10 Keighley L 1955~56 H 52 23 2 V
24th Sep 1955 W 10 Barrow L 1955~56 H 66 15 V
12th Apr 1956 W 10 Workington Town L 1955~56 A 12 9 V
16th Apr 1956 W 8 Whitehaven L 1955~56 H 22 7 V
11th Sep 1956 W 12 Liverpool City LC2 1956~57 H 34 3 V
15th Sep 1956 L 11 Hull L 1956~57 A 6 17 V
20th Sep 1956 W 11 Warrington LCSF 1956~57 A 17 9 1 V
22nd Sep 1956 W 12 Rochdale Hornets L 1956~57 H 49 11 1 V
29th Sep 1956 W 12 Blackpool Borough L 1956~57 A 58 5 1 V
6th Oct 1956 W 12 Liverpool City L 1956~57 H 25 5 V
13th Oct 1956 W 12 Salford L 1956~57 A 27 11 V
20th Oct 1956 L 12 Oldham LCF 1956~57 N 3 10 V
27th Oct 1956 L 12 Workington Town L 1956~57 H 9 11 V
10th Nov 1956 W 11 Featherstone Rovers L 1956~57 H 21 16 1 V
14th Nov 1956 L 11 Featherstone Rovers L 1956~57 A 6 15 V
24th Nov 1956 W 12 Australia Tour 1956~57 H 44 2 1 V
1st Dec 1956 W 11 Huddersfield L 1956~57 H 51 4 1 V
8th Dec 1956 L 11 Oldham L 1956~57 A 8 9 V
15th Dec 1956 W 11 Widnes L 1956~57 A 10 2 V
22nd Dec 1956 W 11 Whitehaven L 1956~57 H 37 6 V
25th Dec 1956 D 11 Leigh L 1956~57 A 7 7 V
29th Dec 1956 D 11 Warrington L 1956~57 A 8 8 V
1st Jan 1957 W 11 Leigh L 1956~57 H 18 14 V
6th Jan 1957 W 11 Warrington L 1956~57 H 33 7 1 V
12th Jan 1957 W 11 Swinton L 1956~57 A 14 9 V
2nd Feb 1957 W 11 Rochdale Hornets L 1956~57 A 23 8 V
9th Feb 1957 L 11 Whitehaven CC1 1956~57 A 8 9 V
16th Feb 1957 D 11 Hull L 1956~57 H 9 9 V
*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.
CALCULATED APPEARANCES : OFFICIAL 48 OTHER 2 = 50
ACTUAL APPEARANCES (inc 0 Subs) = 50

GALLERY


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