RUGBY LEAGUE’S QUALITY STREET GANG (4) – PETER BANNER Pt 1

RUGBY LEAGUE’S QUALITY STREET GANG (4) – PETER BANNER Pt 1

by | Jan 15, 2020

Former Salford Scrum Half, Peter Banner, Recalls Memories Of His Playing Days Of The 1970s

CONTENTS

Part 1 – HIS EARLY RUGBY LEAGUE CAREER

Part 2 – HIS PLAYING CAREER WITH SALFORD

Part 3 –HE REMEMBERS HIS SALFORD TEAMMATES AND COACHES

Part 4 – HIS REPRESENTATIVE HONOURS

Part 5 – HIS POST SALFORD CAREER

Part 1 – HIS EARLY RUGBY LEAGUE CAREER

Born and brought up in Rochdale, Peter Banner was destined to become Salford’s first choice scrum half for the early nineteen seventies, when he, indirectly, took over from long serving captain of the team Jackie Brennan, who had held one or other of the half back positions throughout almost the whole of the sixties.  

This, in itself, was no mean fete, when you consider that Peter had competition from Welshman, and former co- halfback to David Watkins at Newport RUFC, Bob Prosser, whom he had to unseat in order to lay claim to the position himself.  Prosser had joined the Reds a couple of months ahead of Watkins, in 1967, as part of an intented reuniting of the pair as first choice half backs, at the Willows.  The advent of Peter Banner, however, completely thwarted that.

He had first been introduced to the game through visits to the Athletic Ground, former home to Rochdale Hornets, to which his uncle used to take him on a regular basis to watch their home games, and Peter fondly remembers being selected as mascot for one of these.  His playing career started around the age of eleven, when he graduated to Rochdale Technical School, where he played both football and rugby league for the school.

“From the very start I was put into the scrum-halfback role because I was too small to play anywhere else”, he wryly concedes.  “I just liked playing in that position as it seemed to naturally suit me.”

At the age of sixteen he was approached by the Hornets to join their Youth setup which comprised of a team at U17 level, and an older one for U19s.  The demise of the system, part way through his progress through it, however, left Peter high and dry, and so he chose to continue his development via local amateur side, Spotland Rangers, where he stayed for two seasons.

Over this time, he decided to double up his rugby by joining Old Rochdalians RUFC, where he again took up the scrum half role.  This consequently involved his playing two games of rugby, each weekend, both on a Saturday – morning and afternoon.  If that sounds something of a physical challenge, unbelievably, on top of that, he spent Sunday morning playing football.

At the age of seventeen, he was approached by Hornets to turn professional, and this led to a couple of trial games against Salford ‘A’ team.  When the offer, from Rochdale, for him to sign for them came, however, the money it carried was somewhat less than he had expected.

“I knew I was worth more than they had offered, so I ended up phoning Griff Jenkins, Salford’s coach, who had seen me in the two trial games I had played.  A couple of days later, he got back to me and that Friday evening I was selected in the ‘A’ team to play Swinton.”

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