Former Saints star Tommy Martyn recalls the glory days

Former Saints star recalls the glory days

Former Saints star recalls the glory days

First published in News St Helens Star: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FORMER Saints favourite Tommy Martyn helped bring rugby league glory days to life for a group from Age UK who enjoyed a tour of Langtree Park.

They heard how he couldn’t walk for three days because of a double hernia, but his try and a drop goal helped Saints beat Bradford 13-6 in the 2001 Challenge Cup Final, the first time Saints had played at Twickenham rugby union ground.

In that 100th Rugby League Challenge Cup Final Saints devised a game plan to deal with the heftier Bulls outfit.

“They were bigger than us so we kept kicking behind them, previously we’d kick high to them, but nearly every kick that day was along the floor to turn them round,” said Tommy.

“The in-goals were huge compared to the usual three steps and my try came from a deep grubber kick.

“It was a cagey game and I remember it raining for most of the day.

“The majority of our fans weren’t under cover.

“We wanted to put a show on, for the club, the game and also for the RFU and the rugby union people watching. It’s an amazing stadium and the changing rooms were much bigger than most.

“I couldn’t walk for three days afterwards because of a double hernia – it was nothing to do with the party afterwards!

“I probably shouldn’t have played, but it was the final. I had an operation afterwards and managed to get back on the field eight weeks later.”

Age UK Mid Mersey’s Rugby Reminiscing project is operated with Saints Foundation, and on each visit they enjoy looking back with a member of the St Helens Past Players Association.

People enjoyed watching highlights of that big day and listening to Tommy’s recollections.

After a question and answer session with Tommy the group visited the trophy room before accessing the Saints Heritage Vault, an interactive touchscreen device which houses old footage, interviews and photos.

Paul Chadwick, health and wellbeing co-ordinator with Age UK Mid Mersey, said: “The aim is to embrace the person first and their dementia second.

“We want older people to enjoy the camaraderie of the match day experience and to challenge the stigma associated with dementia.

“The scheme encourages older people to remain active within their community to help reduce social isolation and low self-esteem.”

The service gives older people, carers and their families an opportunity to meet up with past and present players and take a look behind the scenes at Langtree Park.

Bookings can be made through Kym Smith on 01744 752 644 or email kymsmith@aukmm.org.uk.

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