FORMER Saints skipper Chris Arkwright has turned 60 today – and that is suitable landmark to reflect on one of the club's finest home-grown servants.

Arkie, or Tosh as he was known among his teammates, enjoyed a 12-season stint at Knowsley Road before leaving for Highfield.

After signing from Saints Colts, Arkwright was in at the deep end with coach Eric Ashton  handing him his debut at centre in the home defeat by Warrington in October 1978.

A few weeks later Arkwright crossed for his first points in the red vee, scoring two tries in the win over Leigh - a game in which Harry Pinner was sent off for an altercation with Jim Fiddler.

This was a tough time to be making your way at Saints, the star-studded team of the 70s had aged together and what remained was a core of seasoned old pros, complemented by youthful, local talent.

The transition was difficult at times, but undoubtedly had St Helens not been blessed with a crop of youngsters like Arkwright, Neil Holding, Steve Peters, Harry Pinner and Roy Haggerty then they too could have met a similar fate to Wigan , whose reputation could not save them from the drop at the end of 1980.

Arkwright developed as a centre, but his skills came into their own when he was moved to the stand off berth midway through the 1982-83 season.

He certainly let Leeds’ skilful playmaker John Holmes know he was in a game when the two met in the Challenge Cup - and had to do a couple of laps of the Headingley cricket pitch when serving time in the sin-bin for one tackle.

Saints, under Billy Benyon, looked on course for Wembley but a shock defeat by Featherstone in round three scuppered those hopes.

Arkwright’s performances had caught the eye and in the 1983-84 season he was measured up for his Great Britain tour blazer, only to be cruelly withdrawn before departure for Australia.

He picked himself up and produced another outstanding year in 1984-85.

The silverware that had escaped him came that season, when assisted by Mal Meninga’s arrival, Saints won the Lancashire Cup and Premiership beating Wigan and Hull KR in the respective finals.

Arkwright was immense that season, with his three tries in the 48-16 win over Leeds showing that this crop were no one-man team.

The following season he earned his Great Britain call-up in the no-holds-barred test series against the bruising New Zealand tourists.

Further honours were to follow, and Alex Murphy’s arrival as coach and then Pinner’s departure saw Arkwright take both the loose forward berth and skipper’s armband.

This was a tough time for the Saints, as the Wigan juggernaut had begun to roll. But there were still bright moments.

St Helens Star:

Arkwright skippered the team to Wembley in 1987, striding through for a hat-trick in the quarter final win over Whitehaven.

Alas, the winners medal evaded him and Saints suffered a heart-breaking 19-18 defeat by Halifax beneath the Twin Towers.

Injuries began to take a toll and although he played 23 times the following year, he missed out on the John Player Final win over Leeds.

The last two seasons, before his departure, saw his first team appearances limited – but Arkwright had already left his mark on this team.

A no-nonsense player, who played the game to edge at times, Arkwright's hands, craft and vision, combined with his sheer gutsy determination made him a real terrace favourite throughout an often turbulent time to be a Saint.

Many happy returns!