Star reader DEREK HEWITT of Birchley View shares this unforgettable memory of Tom van Vollenhoven's dazzling try in the 1959 Championship Final.

During the years 1955 to 1959, as an avid Saints fan, I saw few matches as I was in the RAF in Germany, followed by two years studying at college in Cheltenham.

When Saints reached the Championship Final I was determined at all costs to watch this match - no T.V. coverage in those days.

To avoid Saturday lectures I unlocked a side gate and sneaked out at 7am. I had no travel plan, but just caught the first train out of Cheltenham heading in a northerly direction.

After several missed connections and wrong trains, I eventually arrived at Bradford station ten minutes before kick-off, arriving on the ground fifteen minutes after the start of the match.

Imagine my horror when I glanced up at the scoreboard and saw that Saints were losing 12-4. A nightmare journey ending in what looked like a nightmare result.

But then the magic moment that changed my despair to delight and a certain South African became my all-time hero.

Vollenhoven picked up the ball on his own 25 yard line.

Accelerating he beat three opponents with sheer speed, sidestepped two other defenders and swerved round the full back to put the ball down under the posts.

A try that will be remembered only by those who were there, as I believe there is no filmed record of it.

Saints were still losing but that try changed the course of the game. From then on the match was a sheer delight.

A Murphy try put Saints in front for the first time and further tries by Prinsloo and Vollenhoven gave Saints a 22-12 half time lead The Saints scored four more tries in the second half from Vollenhoven, Smith, Murphy and Huddart, with Rhodes kicking 10 goals in total.

I had little time to celebrate as I had to get back to Cheltenham.

Somewhere in the Midlands towards midnight I caught what was known as the overnight milk train which stopped at every tiny station picking up and delivering milk etc. I eventually arrived in Cheltenham at 4 am.

Wandering through the back streets the local policeman was not suprisingly suspicious of a youth carrying a bag at this time of night.

He didn't seem to accept my explanation that I had been watching a rugby match in Bradford.

"He was only convinced when he made me open my bag and found a half eaten sandwich, a match programme and a copy of the sporting pink printed straight after the match (I still have the cutting from this paper).

I slipped back into college through a side door, left open for me by a friend, and straight to bed after an exhausting but exhilarating day.

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