Part 4 – HIS POST SALFORD RUGBY CAREER
Even after his final departure from the Willows, in 1983, it turned out that there was still a considerably lengthy role left for him as a player, with Runcorn Highfield (formerly Liverpool City, and Huyton), in the second division.
A chance meeting with Geoff Fletcher, a former prop forward with Leigh, Oldham, and Huyton of whom he had become coach, later moving with them to Runcorn in the same capacity, led to Eric’s being invited to join the playing staff, there.
“It was a little different from what I had been used to with Salford, Saints, and Widnes, but I soon settled in and we did really well at the start. We won the first seven games, and became top of the league, for a while, as a result.
“This, however, caused some significant problems, as we found out when Geoff Fletcher came into the dressing room and told us that we couldn’t win any more matches as the club couldn’t afford to pay us any more winning money!
“Not that we allowed that to influence our performances out on the field. I, for one, always wanted to win every game I played in, and that never changed, irrespective of whether there was any significant money available at the end of it.”
Despite all the uncertainties which went with playing for Runcorn, who later changed their name solely to Highfield as a consequence of one final move more, this time to the Prescot area, Eric stayed with them right through to 1989, when he eventually played his last professional game, against Keighley, thereby bringing down the curtain on an incredible twenty-year playing career. In that time, he had played over 570 games, a feat of which he is most justifiably proud.
“There are not many players will be able to that nowadays, because it is all so very different, but I enjoyed playing no matter who it was for. It was just great, and I wish I could still be playing now.
“I still watch the game on TV, and I do go to matches. In recent years I have been to the Lance Todd Trophy Presentation Dinner, as well as attending the seventieth birthday celebration of Steve Nash, at a Salford home game, a few seasons ago.”