|Oliver Stirrup by SHS |
Those who watched the fabulous Oldham team in the 1950s in their battles with the Saints will recall their scrum-half Frank Stirrup. Oliver was his grandfather and began his rugby career at Leigh Shamrocks, before joining Leigh [Heritage Number 169]. Oliver could play in the halves or centres, and his first match in the blue and white hoops of St. Helens was against Keighley, at Knowsley Road on 5th December 1914. Oliver played left centre in his new teamís 11-6 victory. His second match was a week later at Watersheddings against Oldham, when the Saints were once again victorious by 9-5. This time he was scrum-half, with Matt Creevey as his stand-off. In fact, Oliver was one of six scrum-halves used during the campaign. For the record, the others were Trenwith, McLoughlin, Molyneux, Briscoe and Peters.
He then played mostly at left centre, with Tom White as his winger, followed by Henry Greenall. Oliver scored a crucial try in the second round Challenge Cup tie at Swinton, when saints went all the way to the final, playing every game away from home. In his last few matches, he was a right centre and he played his final game for the club on 14th April 1914 at Broughton Rangers, when Saints were heavily beaten by 8-31. He did have the consolation of scoring a try and kicking a goal, however. His winger that day was Harry Kelly, whose son of the same name played for both Saints and Recs. Oliver missed the Challenge Cup replay against Rochdale and the subsequent final at Oldham, when the Saints played against a fabulous Huddersfield outfit. Overall, he made 14 appearances for the Saints, scoring three tries and kicked a goal for good measure. At various times, Oliver was on the books of Broughton Rangers and Wigan, as well as Leigh. It should also be noted that Oliver did make a wartime appearance for the Saints at the start of the following season against Swinton, on 4th September 1915, when it appears that his winger was Jimmy Owen, who found fame with the Recs a short time later. Swinton won 26-5.
Oliver was acoal miner who was living in Brunswick Street, Leigh in 1911. His death is registered in Ince in December 1958 at the age of 75.