Saints are mourning the loss of a club great with the news that Geoff Pimblett died on Monday (February 19) at the age of 73.
Pimblett enjoyed an eight-year spell with Saints after joining the club from St Helens Rugby Union Club. Just three months after his 1971 debut Pimblett featured in the Saints side which beat Wigan 16-12 in the Championship Final. He added a Challenge Cup winners medal in 1972 when Saints overcame Leeds 16-13 at Wembley with tries from Les Jones and Graham Rees.
By 1973 Pimblett had taken over the goal-kicking duties from Kel Coslett and would go on to score 1,388 points for Saints making him the sixth highest ever point-scorer in the club’s history. That tally included 48 tries from fullback, a position more associated with defensive duties in those days than in the modern game in which the number one is almost an extra half. It also included 28 drop-goals, proving that Pimblett really was the type of player that could do it all. He was also a member of the side that won the championship in the 1974/75 season. Saints lost just three league games that season and finished 11 points clear of second placed Wigan.
Among the distinctions he earned was becoming the first player to win both the Lance Todd Trophy and the Harry Sunderland Trophy. The former is awarded to the man of the match in the Challenge Cup final while the latter to the man of the match in the old Premiership final, now the Super League Grand Final. Pimblett kicked three goals on his way to the Lance Todd Trophy in Saints 20-5 triumph over Widnes at Wembley in 1976, while scoring a try and seven goals in his side’s 32-20 win over Warrington in the 1977 Premiership final.
That same year Pimblett was given the captaincy of the club and led the team out at Wembley in 1978 only to see his side go down 14-12 to Leeds, Pimblett kicking three goals in the defeat. Back in St.Helens Pimblett won his one and only England cap a few months later, featuring in a 60-12 thumping of Wales at Knowsley Road. He helped himself to a try and nine goals in that match in front of his home fans.
Alas the following season did not go so well. Pimblett was left out of the side that lost 9-7 to Wakefield in the 1979 Challenge Cup semi-final, that after playing what turned out to be his last game of rugby league in a 23-3 league defeat to Trinity a week previously. After his omission from the cup side Pimblett began to feel that he had been made a scapegoat for the side’s poor form going into the semi-final and at the age of 34 announced his retirement from the game having made 365 appearances for the club.
After his playing days Pimblett became heavily involved with the St Helens Past Players Association along with former Saints start Peter Harvey who tweeted;
“Geoff Pimblett was an absolute pillar of the Saints Players Association and a brilliant secretary for about 40 years, as well as a H O fame member. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends but also well remembered by all ex pupils.”