KEVIN Casey, one of the stalwarts of the Pilkington Recs’ pack from the late 1950s and early 1960s,  has passed away at the age of 82 after not enjoying the best of health in the past few years.

Strong and forceful, Kevin could play hooker and in the front row with equal effectiveness. Universally known as ‘Buck’, Kevin formed part of a formidable forward pack with the likes of Kevin Willetts, Geoff Irwin, Ken Parr, Peter Eckersley and the marvellous loose forward Bernard Dwyer, father of Saints’ star Bernard.

The Recs enjoyed much success in the 1960-61 season, winning the Lancashire Cup and St Helens Cup and Kevin played his part to the full.

They also embarked on a run in the Challenge Cup, ending on a quagmire at Hull KR in the first round proper, losing 8-56.

Kevin was a county player and the club’s second full international representative at Open Age level, since the re-formation of the Recs as an amateur outfit in the late 1940s.

“Kevin was a hooker, initially, and captained the Great Britain amateur team that played an international in France in the early 1960s,” remembers former team-mate Les Kay.

“The game was actually televised and we watched on our black and white sets. He worked at Sheet Works in Grove Street and moved over to the front row when I came to Pilks.

Buck was a great scrummager, not tall as such, but strong and was approached by a few professional clubs, such as Wigan, but all he wanted to do was to stay at City Road with his mates.”

Apparently, he played the international against France with number of stitches above one eye. “He was a wonderful prop-forward and a great ball distributor,” adds another former team-mate and friend, Eric Frodsham.

“He coached at Haresfinch later on and he was a really humble man with a dry sense of humour.”

There are other sporting links in the Casey family. Kevin’s elder brother Joe was a referee and touch judge, while younger brother Andy followed in Kevin’s footsteps, playing for Pilks Recs as a threequarter also attaining county and international honours.

Kevin’s funeral takes place at Lowe House Church on Thursday 27th February at 1pm. There will be a reception afterwards at Haresfinch Rugby League Club.