A former member of the famous Saints’ four-trophy squad of 1965-66, Frank Ward [Heritage Number 811], passed away recently after a long illness, aged 83.
Frank played rugby union with St Helens RUFC and represented the RAF XV during his National Service, in a team that included the likes of fellow Saints Alex Murphy and Cennyd Williams.
A rough, tough front rower, Frank made his senior debut against Liverpool City on 30th November 1963 in a Western Division match at Knowsley Road. Saints won 16-0 and Frank made up the front-row with Cliff Watson and hooker Bob Dagnall.
Competition for places at Knowsley Road was always intense, especially in the forwards and a place in the chosen ‘15’ was much prized. Frank made eight full appearances for the club, although he was also on the bench on seven other occasions, including the inaugural BBC2 Floodlit trophy final, when Castleford beat the Saints 0-4 at Knowsley Road.
“Frank loved his rugby and was so keen,” remembers his wife, Beryl. “We got married in 1960 when he was still in the RAF and Dick Huddart was his Best Man. Some of his other friends included Austin Rhodes, Ken Large, Dave Markey and Tom Pimblett.”
Frank’s last appearance in the Red Vee came at Station Road, Swinton, on 11th April 1966, when the Saints lost 6-20. Swinton were the Saints’ nemesis at the time, although the defeat did not impact too much on their League Leaders status at the end of the campaign.
Frank worked at English Electric before his National Service, followed by employment at Ravenhead Glass for many years until his retirement.
Everyone at St Helens RFC sends their sincere condolences to Frank’s wife, Beryl at this sad time. Frank’s funeral is at St Helens Crematorium on Thursday 5th December at Midday, together with refreshments at the Griffin in Eccleston.