|Ralph Jackson by SHS |
The Saints were in a strong position in the winter of 1926. They had just defeated local rivals Recs in the Lancashire Cup final and everything was looking rosy. From the Minutes of 20th December, we find that the club was approached by Ralph Jackson, a hooker, for a possible trial at senior level. It was initially thought that Ralph would be an excellent addition to have on the playing roster with the Challenge cup ties beckoning in the New Year, but he had already played in the competition for Gerard’s Bridge against Uno’s Dabs, which would, of course, have ruled him out of further participation. Three days later, however, he was interviewed by the Saints’ Committee and it was decided that he would be paid thirty pounds as a signing on fee after six matches with the seniors. Failing that, he would be released.
His first foray in the hooking role at Saints saw him at the wrong end of 48-5 reversal against Wigan A team, but Ralph was put into the seniors for his debut away against Broughton Rangers, which the visitors won 8-7. It does seem, however, that there was a groundswell of support for regular hooker Albert Simm in the local press, who had obviously got hold of the ‘ineligibility’ of Jackson in possible future matches. Despite the pressure, Ralph again took the hooking role against Featherstone Rovers at Knowsley Road in the next match. Like the previous game, he packed down in the front row with Bob Atkin and Lou Houghton.
It appears that Ralph did reasonably well, but that was the last time he wore the famous red and white jersey. Albert Simm was back for the next fixture, against Batley, but the team was later knocked out of the Challenge Cup at York in the first round. It has to be said that hooking was not the issue, but Ralph was not able to complete his trial period and was struck off the register on 7th February 1927. Although Ralph didn`t get his thirty pounds,at least Gerard’s Bridge ARLFC benefitted with a fee for their former junior.
What ever happened to Ralph is not clear. Perhaps he returned to the junior ranks. Outside rugby Ralph was employed as aStorekeeper Salesman. In 1939 he was living in Peasley Cross Road, St Helens. He died in St Helens in April 1972, aged 70. We do not know. If anyone has any further details, or an image of this player, we would be pleased to hear from you.