IT is with great regret that we learn of the passing of Alec Davies, a winger of the 1950s, who has quite a distinction writes Alex Service.
Although he played just four competitive matches for the Saints’ First Team, he scored seven tries.
Furthermore, he scored a hat-trick in his first and last match for the club.
His debut was against Rochdale Hornets, at Knowsley Road, on January 3 1953 and he raced in for three touchdowns, with the great Duggie Greenall as his centre, as the Saints won 37-5. Alec’s final match also included three tries. This time Reg Senior was his centre, against Whitehaven, on April 16 1956 at Knowsley Road. The home team again triumphed 22-7, with a young scrum-half from Thatto Heath, Alex Murphy – making his debut.
A lad from Parr, born in August 1935, Alec Davies attended Allanson Street School, where he played football and cricket. It was only when he moved to secondary education at Parr Central that he started to play rugby league. Although he was extremely quick, he was quite a burly youngster and was once told to take up running to shed a little weight. A team-mate of Todder Dickinson at Central, who played stand-off, Alec was a regular for the Town Team and was selected for Lancashire schoolboys on two occasions. He became a champion sprinter too, with his fastest schoolboy time 10.6 seconds for the 100 yards.
At the age of 15, he joined the United Services junior rugby league team, which included the likes of Brian Howard, Walter Delves and Bill Boycott. He moved on to Pilkington Recs and ultimately signed for the Saints just a few days after another of his school mates, Frank Carlton, had signed professional forms for the club. Although the Saints fancied him as a forward in those early days, he did eventually play in his accustomed position on the flanks and kept up his athletics too, running for Earlestown Viaduct, with whom he won the Northern Counties relay championship.
Alec remained a stalwart of the A team, but his progress was stifled by a troublesome shoulder injury, which put him out of the game for well over half a season. It is also worthy of note that there was a third Saints’ winger from Parr Central on Saints’ books at the time – Eric Ledger – and competition for places in the mid 1950s was tough.
It was obvious that Alec Davies was a superb sportsman, with his marvellous turn of pace, but like Austin Rhodes [piano] he was also a gifted musician. He took violin lessons for almost ten years until he was 15 and actually was invited to join the orchestra at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. Ultimately, he preferred to keep his job as an apprentice fitter and play rugby league.
At this sad time, the St. Helens club sends its condolences to his family and friends.