St.Helens R.F.C is saddened to hear of the passing of former hooker Kevin Taylor at the age of 73.
Born Oldham 1st August 1947
Died Oldham March 2020
In the pre-Super League days, getting the ball from a contested scrum was an essential part of the game. Saints’ regular hooker, Graham Liptrot, broke his jaw against Featherstone Rovers in late November 1980 and there was a real need to make a signing, even in the short term, to arrest a four-match losing run that put the Saints in potential peril from relegation.
Although the scrambled 11-10 victory over Oldham on Boxing Day raised spirits, the Saints’ Board decided to sign the vastly experienced number nine Kevin Taylor from the Watersheddings club. He made his debut on New Year’s Day against Widnes at Naughton Park. It was a narrow 8-11 loss, but the tide was beginning to turn. Three straight wins followed, including a huge two points against a powerful Hull KR side at Craven Park.
Kevin made the last of his seven appearances in the red vee in a first round Lancashire Cup tie against Blackpool Borough on 16th August 1981, which Saints won 28-0. He made up the front row with two Welshmen by his side: Roger Owen and Mel James that day, but clearly his input early in 1981 was absolutely crucial and cannot be understated.
A Werneth Junior, he spent 14 years at his first club, Oldham and was the understudy to another former Saint, Len McIntyre. After 429 games for the Roughyeds, Kevin joined Leigh for £3,000 in February 1977 [108 games] and then had a spell at Swinton, before what became his professional swansong at Knowsley Road.
A former Lancashire, England and Great Britain Under 24 representative, he was a real handful in open play and a prolific try-scorer in his younger days. Kevin played in over 500 matches during his career, a feat achieved only by a select number in such a tough sport as rugby league.
Everyone at the Saints sends their condolences to his family at this sad time.
Thanks to the Saints Heritage Society for the words.