Each day whilst we are all in Lockdown we will recall a famous Saints moment from the current day thanks to Saints Heritage Society.
22 JUNE 1937
Mighty second-rower Dick Huddart was born in Flimby, Cumberland.
For his Saints debut at Workington [18 October 1958 a 10-10 draw] he merely caught the train the short distance from his home to Workington’s Derwent Parkground.
Aaah the trappings of superstardom!
Birthday greetings from all of us here at Saints, Mr Huddart!
Dick Huddart was a legend for the club playing over 200 matches mostly as a second row forward. Dick had had a sensational 1958 Tour Down Under and became firm friends with Vinty Karalius. After returning from the antipodes Dick asked Whitehaven for a transfer, and publicly stated that he would like to play for St Helens. Basil Lowe explained the bizarre circumstances of his signing:-
“On a very stormy night we travelled by Mini Minor to Whitehaven, and on the way we actually bumped into some Wigan directors who had been unsuccessful in their bid to bring Dick to Central Park. The negotiations became heated and difficult but eventually we won the day. We were hardly welcome guests. In fact we made the signing of Huddart using a toilet seat, as this was the only room we were offered.”
Saints were attracted by Dick`s powerful 6 feet height and 15 stone frame that was used to effectively to crack open any defence. His speed, straight running and jackhammer hand-off would cost the Club a record 7 250 transfer fee, but oh it would be money well spent!
Dick made his debut against Workington Town in the 10 points all draw on the 18th. October 1958. His first try for the club was away against Featherstone Rovers on November 15th 1958 when the Saints cantered to a 36 points to 9 victory. Dick played a total of 32 matches in that record-breaking season scoring 19 tries in the process. This total included a hat-trick he notched up on the 25th April against Liverpool City as the Saints eased to a 41 points to 22 victory.
In the 1959/60 season Dick scored 19 tries from 42 matches including another hat-trick against Liverpool City.
Dick played 12 times for Great Britain in his time with the Saints. He also won seven Cumberland caps and one England cap.
Huddart played a vital part in laying the foundations for many a Saints victory including the sensational 1959 Championship Final win by 44 points to 22 over a great Hunslet side. Dick scored a rip-roaring try in typical fashion as he raced through the Hunslet defence from 30 yards out.
Dick also won a Lancashire Cup winners medal when the Saints defeated Swinton by 15 points to 9 in front of a crowd of over 31 000 at Central Park on October 29th. 1960. He repeated the pleasure in the same competition against the same opposition one season later, this time the victory score was 25 points to 9. In 1962 Huddart collected his third winners medal in this competition against poor old Swinton again!
In the 1961 Challenge Cup Final Dick was heavily involved in the most memorable Wembley final of all time for Saints and Wigan fans. In the first half his burst through the Wigan defence set up a try for Alex Murphy. His relentless runs kept Wigan on the back-foot until Large and Vollenhoven sealed the game with that momentous try. His performance that day earned him the Lance Todd Trophy.
The 1961/62 season was a transitional one for the Saints as the Club felt a need to build a new side to continue to challenge for the game`s top honours. Dick scored 11 tries in 38 games as the Saints endured a poor season by the Club`s high standards.
The 1962 Australian Tour probably saw Dick Huddart at the height of his prowess. Feasting on the hard grounds he proved a perfect foil to that hardest of all men, Brian Edgar, as he continuously tortured the Aussie defences with powerful hand-offs and rapier like bursts. He played a major part in retaining the Ashes and was glorified by the Sydney crowds in particular.
Dick`s final season at the Saints was his least productive in tries, bagging a solitary try from 19 games. His final match for the Club was against Warrington on the 29th. of February, 1964 after five and a half years at the Club in which he had won every honour in the game. Dick Huddart played 209 matches for the club. He scored 76 tries and kicked no goals for an aggregate score of 228 points.
Saints sold Huddart to the St George club, Sydney in Australia where Dick walked into the most successful club side ever. He helped St George to another Grand Final win and so became one of a handful of Englishmen to capture that particular medal.