It is sad to report the passing of Brian Glover, who, as far as Saints were concerned, was one who got away until late in his career!
Born in St. Helens in 1936 and a former pupil of Grange Park Secondary School, his rugby career began as a hooker for the famous amateur outfit Pilkington Recs in the mid-1950s, writes Alex Service.
Switched to centre for a spell, he impressed the watching former Warrington winger Albert Johnson, who suggested he have a trial with the Wilderspool club and found himself on the wing. This was not easy, as in one of the trial matches he was pitted against legendary winger Brian Bevan!
He came through the test with flying colours and he proved to be a valuable acquisition indeed for the Wires, with his great power, pace, and finishing ability. He could play with equal effectiveness on either flank and Brian only knew the direct route to the line! Perhaps his ‘route one’ almost confrontational style was similar to the Saints’ Welsh winger Roy Mathias of the 1970s. He was not ‘big’ in the modern sense, but one hard rugby league player nonetheless!
A fitter by trade, he made his senior debut for the Wires on Saturday September 14 1957 against Oldham at Watersheddings, although his early career was interrupted with National Service with the Army, where, based at Rhyl, he played rugby union for the Western Command.
Yet by the 1962-63 season he was a regular choice, roaring in for 24 tries [10th in the try-scorers’ charts]. Although the Warrington team did not hit that many high spots during Brian’s tenure, he still won a Lancashire Cup winner’s medal after the defeat of Rochdale Hornets at Knowsley Road in 1965, when he scored a memorable try.
Brian also was also a losing finalist when St. Helens won the 1967 County Cup final after a replay, where he marked his old adversary, Tom van Vollenhoven, the Saints’ captain. He also defied a nasty facial injury sustained in a car accident and continued to play as only he could: full throttle and without fear!
Overall he played 332 times for Warrington, racking up 130 tries. His last game in the primrose and blue was at Barrow on April 3 1970. Brian enjoyed a Testimonial Year at Wilderspool and is held in such esteem that he was later enrolled in the club’s prestigious Hall of Fame. He played for the Red Rose county on ten occasions and could count the likes of Alan Buckley, Billy Benyon and Frank Myler as his centres. He was a centre himself in his last county match, against Yorkshire at Hull, with Saints’ ‘young gun’ Les Jones outside him.
International recognition escaped him, although his team-mates felt that he would not have been overawed in such company. Yet Brian valued the camaraderie of his team-mates just as much as any major honours!
He joined his home town club St. Helens for a spell and made his full debut on October 13 1970 in a 37-6 victory over Warrington! Brian also scored a try when Saints thrashed the Australian tourists 37-10 and made his 19th and final [full] appearance at Wakefield Trinity on September 11 1971.
The majority of those games were in the centres. He then spent a further two years at Rochdale Hornets before retirement. Throughout his life he remained an engaging character, who had a wide circle of friends, many, of course, from his time in the Greatest Game of All!
A proud member of both the Warrington and St. Helens Players’ Associations, we send our condolences to his wife, Rita and family.