William Rankin by Dave Dooley:
Saints added the experience of prop forward Bill Rankin to their ranks after the War and he was instrumental in guiding ex-Welsh rugby union hooker Reg Blakemore through his formative months in the 13-a-side game. Bill started his career with St.Helens Recs and played for Rochdale and Wigan Highfield before being called up. He finished his rugby career at Liverpool Stanley, helping out with the `A`team.
Bill made his debut against Liverpool Stanley on New Year`s Day 1947 but the celebrations were curtailed as Saints went down narrowly by 8 points to 7. In his next outing the Saints lost to Leeds by the same score but fortune smiled on Bill by the end of the month as winning pay came in the 11 points to 7 victory over Featherstone Rovers at Post Office Road. Incidentally this was `Porky` Davies` last match for the club. Bill did not play again until the following New Year`s Day 1948 when the Saints went down to Leigh by 8 points to 3. Two days later Bill featured in the final match of his first team career at the Saints, as Swinton were defeated by 6 points to 3 at Station Road.
This appreciation of Bill appeared in the Recs’ history They Bled Red Amber and Black.
Bill was the archetypal ‘burly front-rower’ who was an integral member of the pack in the last two seasons of the Recs’ existence, which included names like Bill Parr, Horace Randolph and Fred Rowson. He was a great scrummager, who could carry the ball up relentlessly and help to set the platform for the threequarters to show their paces. His debut, against Oldham, early in the 1936-37 campaign was characterised by the Recs coming into contact with their former scrum-half Billy Greenall, who had been transferred somewhat controversially, to the East Lancashire outfit from the Recs. Greenall scored two tries and could easily have had a third, but the Recs had been hampered with the loss of hooker Oliver Dolan with a jaw injury. Despite the reversal, the St. Helens Reporter was quite optimistic: “Rankin, who partnered Randolph in the second row, was also a forceful find.” Bill played in Recs’ last match at Hull KR in 1939 and lived in Charles Street in his latter days at City Road. He went on to play for Saints [5 appearances] and Liverpool Stanley after the war. He later worked for Heaton’s Transport as a wagon driver and passed away in 1988 at the age of 71.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|1st Jan 1947||
|11th Jan 1947||
|18th Jan 1947||
|1st Jan 1948||
|3rd Jan 1948||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 2 | LOSSES : 3 | DRAWS :|
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