|Dai Davies by SHS |
Initially a half-back in junior rugby, David or Dai as he became known, was signed in November 1927, for a £30 fee. Dai, from Clock Face, first came to prominence in August 1928, when he was designated Captain of the Possibles against the Probables in a pre-season trial match at Knowsley Road. His elder brother, Peter, a half-back, was also on the books, although his rugby league career was interrupted by working for the railways in Derby. In fact, both brothers played a number of games together in the A Team at Knowsley Road, when Peter occasionally captained the team.
His debut came in the away match with Widnes, on 25th August in what was a somewhat feisty affair, won 2-0 by the Chemics. He played as a half-back that afternoon and his second appearance was also as a stand-off against Carlisle City on 8th September, when the Saints won 8-5. It was then that he was switched to the centres, where he played the rest of his football as a Saint. The return of the 1928 Tourists was a big occasion, not least the return of the great winger Alf Ellaby and Dai was selected as his centre in the home match against Hunslet on 29th September. Ellaby was unstoppable that day, but the critics had their knives out for his inside man. To quote Premier in the St. Helens Newspaper: “That very pleasing boy, Davies, became still more boyish by the comparison that could not be avoided. He was overawed by the occasion and did not do himself justice but even if he had done himself justice he is not yet good enough for such a partnership as is being thrust upon him.”
It was no easy task to get any First Team opportunities at Knowsley Road with the likes of Billy Mercer and George Lewis around, and Dai found himself back in the Reserves. Ironically, it was his brother Peter who next returned to senior action, with four appearances from December 1928 to the New Year. Returning for the game against Swinton at Knowsley Road on 19th January, which Saints lost 2-3, Dai enjoyed a run of 14 senior appearances until the end of the 1928-29 campaign, scoring three tries for good measure.
Dai was not an automatic choice at the start of the 1929-30 season and his appearances were becoming somewhat more sporadic. All told he played in nine First Team matches and as the 1929-30 season reached a climax, he was not included in the Challenge Cup final squad for the game against Widnes at Wembley and he played what was to be his last match for the club against York, on 21st April.
He initially signed on for the following season, but was promptly snapped up by Broughton Rangers for a £100 fee, indicative of his potential, on 13th September 1930. It is clear he had ability, but concerns were raised as to his relative lack of pace, which, apparently he needed to have with Ellaby outside him. This, plus lack of First Team opportunities generally triggered the inevitable. It should be noted, however, that Welshman George Lewis was centre to Ellaby on numerous occasions and it was his craft and skill that gave Alf so many tries, not pace as such. So what did he achieve at Broughton Rangers? Graham Morris, an expert in Manchester rugby league matters tells us that Davies made 158 appearances, 107 of them in his first three seasons at the club and he remained at Rangers until the outbreak of War. Dai passed away in January 1989 in St. Helens, aged 79.