A PICTURE published in the Star of muddy St Helens and Warrington players about to pack down brought back memories for many fans.

A number correctly identified the players in Eddie Whitham’s 1982 Knowsley Road mudbath picture, the Saints front row being Gary Bottell, Roger Owen and Gary Moorby squaring up to Wire’s Dave Chisnall, Carl Webb and Neil Courtney – with referee Fred Lindop watching over.

And the two Wire players standing close by are Alan Scott and Tony Worrall.

Former player Harold Lea from Windle said the conditions were not unusual for winter rugby league.

“Your recent picture showing muddy rugby players back in 1982 brought back some wonderful memories back to when I was fortunate to spend a few seasons playing rugby for Swinton Lions,” he said.

“In the early 50s during my playing days at Station Road some 30 years before that photograph was taken, playing in such conditions was considered normal and nothing unusual in any way as rugby league was then a winter sport and most grounds had more water and mud on them than grass after December.

“After a match in such muddy conditions we were often subjected to being hose piped down with cold water before being allowed into the warm communal bath to soak and relax (not a pleasant experience).

“Those days we played through torrential rain and snow with matches being regularly abandoned at half time due to the bad conditions or poor visibility due to fog.

“These were also the days when there was no interchange of players, we played with a heavy leather ball and there was no padding on the goal posts, and the corner flags were rigid and not flexible

“As the saying goes - those were the days.”