In Memoriam: Peter Glynn

St.Helens R.F.C. are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Saint #906, Peter Glynn.

One of Saints’ most popular and versatile players of the mid-1970s, Peter Glynn, fondly remembered by thousands of fans of the Red V for his fantastic brace of tries from the bench at Wembley in 1976, has passed away after a long illness, aged 71.

A product of Widnes amateur rugby, Peter Glynn could play with equal effectiveness at stand-off, wing, centre or full back. Speedy and elusive, he had superb hands, was a great reader of a game and, above all, he had brilliant anticipation to sniff out those vital tries when occasions demanded it. He signed for the Saints in the summer of 1974 and made a try-scoring debut at stand-off in the victory over Oldham in a Lancashire Cup tie at Watersheddings on 31st August 1975. His second match for the seniors was on 12th October was at right centre when Saints played Australia at Knowsley Road. He was in the centres that day as the Kangaroos won 7-32 and it was soon clear that his versatility would make him a valuable squad member in the matches to come.

By the end of his first season, he became known as ‘Supersub’ with his efforts in the 1976 Challenge Cup Final, against his hometown club! After replacing veteran stand-off Billy Benyon at half-time, Peter scored a vital try that gave the Saints a crucial 12-5 advantage in the searing heat. Geoff Pimblett and Tony Karalius engineered the four-pointer, following an incredible 80 yard run from winger Les Jones. With two minutes to go, as Saints pounded the Widnes line, Peter kicked over, re-gathered and slammed the ball down, despite the efforts of Dennis O’Neill – a try that set the seal on a magnificent victory for the ‘Dad’s Army’ team from St Helens.

Two weeks later, Peter appeared in the starting line-up at centre in the Premiership Final against a strong Salford side at Swinton. Saints over-ran their opponents in the last quarter, but it was all started by Peter Glynn, who started and finished a move, including Roy Mathias and George Nicholls. This score effectively broke the Salford resistance and Saints romped in for two more tries to win by 15 points to 2.

Peter became a regular at stand off, or centre at Knowsley Road and he played a dominant role in the 1977 Premiership Final defeat of Warrington, with his excellent ball skills. Indeed, Peter was reaching his peak as a footballer, just at a time when the St Helens club itself was slipping into a period of relative decline. He topped the appearances chart in the 1977-78 campaign, scoring five brilliant tries in the 52-14 victory over Hull, where his brilliant support play and clinical finishing were shown to great effect. Peter played at left centre in the 1978 Challenge Cup Final against Leeds, who lifted the trophy after a thrilling second-half fight-back and he finished the campaign with no less than 28 touchdowns!

Peter’s form was good enough to warrant inclusion in the 1979 Australian tour party, together with George Nicholls, Mel James, Graham Liptrot and Roy Mathias, although he did not play in any of the Tests. He won two England caps [Heritage Number #500] making his debut against Wales on 16th March 1979 at the same time as Graham Liptrot. He also represented Lancashire six times during his Saints’ career.

Peter continued to inspire his colleagues over the next few years and even took up the goal-kicking role for a spell following an injury to regular kicker Clive Griffiths. At the end of the 1982-83 season he joined Salford, with full-back Steve Rule coming to Knowsley Road in exchange. Peter had made 258 appearances as a Saint, scoring 118 tries, 89 goals and 5 drop goals for a total of 531 points. He went on to make a further where he made 144 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 24 tries and later had spells with Chorley Borough and Trafford Borough.

Always a popular figure with the fans and his team-mates, he enjoyed prodigious success at the start of his career and helped guide the Saints through a difficult period of transition, in the late seventies and early eighties. A member of the Saints’ Players Association’s Hall of Fame, he remains a real unsung hero in the red vee.

Everyone at St Helens R.F.C. sends their condolences to Peter’s family at this sad time.

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