TRIBUTE TO BILL BURGESS

Salford Red Devils were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of their former, international winger, Bill Burgess, on Tuesday last, 11th June, following a long illness.

Born and brought up in Barrow, Bill followed his father, of the same name, in joining his home town rugby league club, from Fylde Rugby Union Club, in 1962, for the exceptionally large fee, at that time, of seven thousand pounds.

His rugby league career began with an away match at Doncaster, where he crossed for a hat-trick of tries, and he went on to play a total of two hundred and twenty-two appearances for Barrow, scoring one hundred and seventy-nine tries, which included an average of one per match over his first two seasons.

Representative honours were quick to follow, being selected by first, Lancashire for whom he scored ten tries in eleven matches, and then in 1963 for Great Britain, with whom he went on to tour Australia and New Zealand, in 1966.

In December 1968, he moved south to join Salford for a fee of six thousand pounds, at the very same time as the club signed forward, Colin Dixon, from Halifax, and the dual announcement made headlines in the news, on the day.

What had made him stand out to the club officials was his incredible running style, which was so graceful, and seemed almost effortless, even on the muddiest of pitches, but was accompanied by the ability to change direction, swerve around players, and also beat them by a change of pace.  Even when he appeared to be going full out he always seemed to be able to increase it even further when challenged by anyone.

His Salford debut came on 20 December, in a home game against Wakefield Trinity, and he went on to make a total of forty-four appearances, in which he scored thirty-three tries.  One of the most important of these was in the full-house, home quarter-final Challenge Cup tie, against Widnes. The ball was moved along the line to the right, which was the flank upon which he was always to be found, and thanks to a flip on to him, rather than a catch and pass, by loose forward Ron Hill, the extra time this provided, enabled Bill to round his opponent in the corner for the crucial score of the game.

Salford went on to reach Wembley for their first, post war appearance, whilst, for Bill, it was his second consecutive visit there, having been on the losing side to Featherstone Rovers, the previous year.

Sadly, this second final was not to be one that he would be able to relish, owing to a collision with a Castleford forward, as he chased through from the kick-off, and although he remained on the field for the remainder of the game, his contribution was significantly curtailed as a consequence, with the Yorkshire side going on to lift the trophy.

Over the two seasons he remained here he represented Great Britain once, England on two occasions, and once for Lancashire.

Unfortunately, his later months were impaired by a troublesome shoulder injury, and when, in what turned out to be his last match, a play-off game against Hull, at The Willows, on 19th April 1970, he dislocated shoulder for a second time, sadly he decided to retire from the game.

Nevertheless, throughout the rest of his life, he remained passionate about rugby league, whilst also remaining active, playing bowls, in his local community, where he continued to be an extremely popular figure, whilst being fondly remembered by all those throughout rugby, who knew him.

Our sympathy and condolences go out to his family, at this sad time.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Graham Morris – Club Historian

Dual-Registration | Bennion features as Oldham make it six in a row

Salford Red Devils forward Gavin Bennion was in action this weekend for dual-registration partners Oldham RLFC as the Roughyeds made it six consecutive wins in Betfred League One.
Bennion started at prop-forward in the dominant victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Doncaster RLFC with the win giving Oldham a two-point buffer in 3rd place above their opponents this weekend.
Oldham went into the break leading 16-0 after tries from Danny Langtree and Luke Hooley alongside four goals from Paul Crook. The hosts maintained control in the second half with Luke Nelmes, Lee Kershaw and Phil Joy all crossing after the break.
Bennion has now featured twice for the Roughyeds this season. Oldham travel to Coventry Bears in their next Betfred League One fixture on Sunday 10th June.

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