CLOCK Face Miners ARFLC are based in the former mining village of Clock Face in St.Helens and was formed a century ago in 1921.

This makes Clock Face the oldest amateur Rugby League club in the town.

It was formed by the local Clock Face Colliery and in particular the Colliery’s owner The Earl of Crawford.

St Helens Star:

The Earl was a social visionary and in 1914 had built the Clock Face Miners Recreation Club and grounds to house various sports as a recreational past time for his employees, one of these being Rugby League.

Nearly 100 years on although the Colliery is long gone, Clock Face Miners ARLFC is still based at the Club and playing on the grounds donated by the late Earl.

The club entered the St.Helens and Widnes District League in 1921 and were runners-up in its inaugural season.

Throughout the years in between the Wars, they were a real force, winning the local league and many cups on several occasions, the highlight probably being the Lancashire Cup in 1933.

St Helens Star:

Clock Face 1946-47.

During this period Clock had several players signed by professional clubs. The most famous being Bob Atkin who starred for Saint’s in their Cup Final victories of the era against St Helens Recs (Lancashire Cup 1926) and Huddersfield (Championship Final 1932).

The 1940s and 50s saw a continuation of the club’s success and its capacity to produced great talent.

Most notable from this period was Wilf Smith, who would become a ‘Hall of Famer’ at Saints.

St Helens Star:

In this era the club fell just short of progressing through to the 1st round of Rugby League Challenge Cup, when they were defeated in a Preliminary Final by Pendlebury Jrs, who went on to play Saints at Knowsley Rd.

St Helens Star:

In a strange quirk of history Pendlebury had denied Clock the same goal in 1933, when they again went on to play St. Helens opposition in the 1st round, that time in the form of the ‘Recs’.

St Helens Star:

The next decade unfortunately saw the demise of both the Colliery and rugby. In the late sixties’ rugby ceased at the club with football becoming the dominate force for the next two decades.

St Helens Star:

However, in the early eighties the rugby section was reformed by rugby fanatic Billy Walker and entered the North West Counties League in 1983. For the next 20 years the club went through a ‘yo-yo’ period.

Under the guidance of Rugby League legend Geoff ‘Piggy’ Fletcher they gained promotion to Div1 in 1991, but quickly fell from grace later in the decade.

It was not until the formation of its thriving Junior Section by former Saint Graham Liptrot and club stalwart Edward Grimes in 2000 that the club began to flourish again.

An interesting fact from the start of this period is that for a short time the great Alex Murphy was coach of the club.

St Helens Star:

However real progress came under the guidance of ex-professionals Willie Johnson (Dewsbury, Swinton) and John Kerr (Leigh) with the team climbing the divisions in the noughties and ultimately reaching the Premier Division.

One notable victory during this period was the winning of the St Helens Cup, the first time the old cup had come back to Clock in 50 years!

The club has continued to progress and entered the National Conference League in 2017, a year later gaining promotion to Div 2 of the NCL.

In 2019 the club finally made its debut in the Rugby League Challenge Cup laying to rest the heartbreak of those bygone years.

St Helens Star:

It's befitting for a club with such a long and proud history that in its centenary year it not only has a number of thriving junior teams, still producing players for the professional clubs; such as Josh Eaves (above) at Saints, Lewis Hatton at Swinton Lions and Callum Hazard at North Wales Crusaders, but it is now competing at the elite level of amateur Rugby League.

St Helens Star:

Clock Face today. Picture: Mike Dean