|Being a Preston lad and from a family that played the dreaded Rugby Union (Grandfather and Father played for Preston Grasshoppers) he started playing for them at the age of 8 years in The Mini Junior teams. He captained each year team through to Colts team at the age of 18years. At 19 years he played for the Grasshoppers first team in Rugby Unions Jewson League two - North. At the end of that season Grasshoppers were promoted to National League One.
John was also selected to play for the Lancashire County Rugby Union Clubs sides at each year group from 14 years and also captained those teams. In 1999 he played for the Lancashire Under 21 side and was their Vice Captain.
His school Hutton Grammar School in Preston played Rugby Union and he played for the school at each year level and was also Captain of those teams.
In April 1999 out of the blue Harry Wellens, Paul’s Dad approached John and asked him to train with the Saints under 21’s side to see if he liked it and if he could adapt to the needs, fitness and skills of Rugby League. He trained for a few weeks and got a chance to play for the Saints Alliance side under the astute tutelage of John Myler. John was supposed to return to the Grasshopper fold for the next Rugby Union season but it became clear that Rugby League and Saints had stolen his heart and loyalty. His love of the game is just as strong today. He learned his trade with the Alliance team and was a member of the team that played in the 2000 Rugby League Alliance Grand Final against Wigan Warriors.
He was studying at the University of Central Lancashire for degree in ‘Leisure and Sports Management’ and fitting in his training in with his studies. Saints offered him a part time contract to accommodate both training and studies and he was delighted at the opportunity to play with such accomplished players and at such a high level. He played his first (début) Super League game at Wilderspool on August Bank Holiday Monday, 2001 on the right wing and scored in the corner from a Kieron Cunningham pass. He touched down again but the referee chalked it off for a forward pass.
Once John had finished his studies and got his degree Saints offered him a full time playing contract and he made about 28 first team/Super League appearances for Saints and on one of them scored a hat trick of tries against Leeds Rhinos. He played in the side that played the New Zealand test team and also in the cross code game between Sale Rugby Union and Saints.
In June 2003 he went on loan from Saints to Halifax for a month and played four Super League games for them. At the end of that season Saints made it known that they were not going to renew his contract and so he signed for London Broncos on a two-year deal. John looks back on his time in London with mixed feelings. He suffered some untimely injuries which kept him out of the team at crucial points and although he played many Super League games for the Broncos - as one of the relatively few British born players - catching the coach’s eye often proved difficult. At the end of the 2005 Season John returned north to Preston.
He has in the last two months signed a playing contract for Widnes Vikings and is enjoying his Rugby League again. John still has ambitions within the game and now that he is restored to full fitness he is looking forward to the future.
Prepared 29th May 2006
Courtesy the Kirkpatrick Family.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|26th Aug 2001||D||2||Warrington Wolves||SL||2001||A||28||28||1||VIEW|
|31st Aug 2001||W||5||Castleford Tigers||SL||2001||H||44||20||VIEW|
|7th Sep 2001||L||5||Leeds Rhinos||SL||2001||H||18||23||VIEW|
|14th Sep 2001||L||14||Wigan Warriors||SL||2001||A||6||40||VIEW|
|22nd Sep 2001||W||14||Leeds Rhinos||SLEPO||2001||H||38||30||VIEW|
|28th Sep 2001||W||14||Hull FC||SLESF||2001||A||24||20||1||VIEW|
|9th Jan 2002||L||2||Warrington Wolves*||Fr||2002||A||4||48||VIEW|
|28th Jan 2002||W||14||Widnes Vikings*||Fr||2002||H||24||10||VIEW|
|28th Mar 2002||L||5||London Broncos||SL||2002||A||6||40||VIEW|
|20th Apr 2002||L||5||Bradford Bulls||SL||2002||A||22||54||2||VIEW|
|3rd May 2002||W||2||Halifax Blue Sox||SL||2002||H||38||6||VIEW|
|12th May 2002||W||14||Warrington Wolves||SL||2002||A||44||36||VIEW|
|19th May 2002||W||14||Wakefield Trinity||SL||2002||A||48||6||VIEW|
|7th Jun 2002||W||14||Leeds Rhinos||SL||2002||A||41||14||VIEW|
|21st Jun 2002||W||5||Castleford Tigers||SL||2002||H||26||16||VIEW|
|9th Aug 2002||W||14||Wakefield Trinity||SL||2002||H||34||2||VIEW|
|23rd Aug 2002||W||5||Halifax Blue Sox||SL||2002||H||64||0||1||VIEW|
|30th Aug 2002||W||5||Leeds Rhinos||SL||2002||H||38||18||3||VIEW|
|25th Oct 2002||L||5||New Zealand||Tour||2002||H||26||38||VIEW|
|12th Jan 2003||L||5||Barrow*||Fr||2003||A||16||18||VIEW|
|4th Feb 2003||L||1||Widnes Vikings*||Fr||2003||A||6||24||VIEW|
|21st Feb 2003||W||5||Bradford Bulls||SL||2003||H||46||22||2||VIEW|
|28th Feb 2003||W||1||Batley Bulldogs||PCC5||2003||H||38||12||1||VIEW|
|8th Mar 2003||W||14||Widnes Vikings||SL||2003||A||22||4||Y||VIEW|
|11th Jul 2003||W||14||Castleford Tigers||SL||2003||A||46||32||VIEW|
|18th Jul 2003||W||14||Huddersfield Giants||SL||2003||H||22||18||VIEW|
|3rd Aug 2003||W||14||London Broncos||SL||2003||A||30||18||VIEW|
|9th Aug 2003||W||14||Hull FC||SL||2003||H||28||18||VIEW|
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|