PLENTY of Saints fans get nostalgic about the traditional Boxing Day fixtures against Wigan – but how many readers have memories of watching games at Knowsley Road on Christmas Day.

From 1923 up until 1937 Saints had annual matches against St Helens Recs on 25 December - and Recs tended to get the better of the encounters in the 20s.

Saints would still play Wigan the day after on Boxing Day.

With the demise of Recs, Saints played Widnes on Christmas Day 1939, but then had a run up to 1944 playing Wigan on December 25, often backing up against the same opponents the day after.

In 1945 and 1946 they took on Liverpool Stanley, winning the first one 26-3 but losing 17-16 the following year.

St Helens Star:

In the first of those games tries came from Aubrey Gregory (pictured above) (2), Jim Myers (2), Stan Powell and Albert Doyle.

The team in the 1946 encounter featured local character and notorious hard-man Jonty Pilkington in the front row, with a teenage Duggie Greenall scoring one of Saints’ tries.

In 1947 a tradition of playing Leigh on Christmas Day started – something that would continue up to 1959.

Saints won that 22-3, with two tries from Jimmy Stott helping them on their way.

For those wondering what Saints’ festive schedule looked like – in 1947 they played on December 25, 26, 27 and the January 1 and 3; that's five games in 10 days.

And there looked to be some humdingers of games between the two south Lancashire rivals, with Saints not having it all their own way.

In 1952 22,000 shoe-horned into Hilton Park on Christmas Day to see Saints triumph 22-2, with Stan McCormick grabbing four tries, Steve Llewellyn notching a couple with Duggie Greenall kicking a couple of goals.

St Helens Star:

Tom van Vollenhoven and Duggie Greenall

Greenall grabbed all the points the day after when 35,000 packed into Knowsley Road to see a 5-0 Boxing Day win over Wigan - and to make it three in a row Saints m won 20-11 at Wakefield on 27 December.

The Christmas Day games against Leigh were invariably tight, with a couple of draws in there.

As the end of the decade approached, the Christmas Day crowds dropped from 20,000 on 1957 to 11,000 in 1959 – and may be that was a factor in this tradition coming to an end.

Saints won that final Christmas Day game against Leigh, 14-10 with Wilf Smith and Ken Large scoring the tries with Austin Rhodes booting four goals.

For the record, Saints team on that last 25th December game was; Rhodes; Vollenhoven, Large, McGinn, Prinsloo; Murphy, Smith; Prescott, McKinney, Brown, Measures, Huddart, Fred Terry.