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Harry Pinner - Former GB Captain


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Harold "Harry" Pinner was born 26 September 1956 and is an English former professional RL player who played in the 1970s and 1980s. 🏉🏉🏉

I remember Harry as a child watching at Knowsley Road, he was the loose forward and skipper at the time, everything went through Harry 😀 He went on to play over 300 times for his local club and is now a hall of famer at St Helens.

He played at representative level for Great Britain and England, and at club level for St. Helens, Widnes, Leigh, Bradford Northern and Carlisle, as a loose forward.

Harry was born in St. Helens, then Lancashire, he went on to be the landlord of the Victoria Inn public house, in Newton-le-Willows, and Parr Arms public house, in Grappenhall, Warrington, did you ever go in there❓ 🍻

Harry played for England while at St. Helens in 1980 against Wales, in 1981 against France, and also won caps for Great Britain in 1980, 1985 against New Zealand in 1986 against France, and while at Widnes in 1986, against Australia. 🧢🧢🧢

Only 3 players have scored drop goals for both England & Great Britain, they are Bobbie Goulding, Sean Long, and Harry Pinner. Ironically all X St Helens and Widnes players!!! Great trivia 😁

What are your memories of this fantastic player?

We completed this interview with Harry in a studio in Liverpool, hosted with Radio Merseyside commentator Alan Rooney. 

It's part of a documentary we are creating on Harry, we have already completed more filming with former players who played with and against Harry and looked back through more memories with some on location filming. Bare with us though, making a documentary takes a long time but here's a taster.

 

 

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Harry was a magnificent ball playing loose forward, who could put a teammate through a gap with a brilliantly timed pass. I'm not sure that the type of player exists in the modern game.

My main memories are from games I was in the crowd for as a youngster.

1977. St Helens v Warrington Premiership Final at Station Road....I was a 10 year old sat in the old wooden Townsend Road stand...Pinner was sent off for a full proper fist fight with Alan Gwilliam the Warrington scrum half. I don't recall much of the match apart from being there, Saints winning , and the sending off.

1978. St Helens v Leeds at Wembley. This is one of the, if not the greatest Cup Final of all time. Pinner was in the losing Saints team who made a try scored by Liptrot by launching an up and under which was dropped behind the Leeds line to gift Saints an early try. I was stood behind the posts at the tunnel end where this happened.

I thought he was a great player.

Pinner also played for my team Leigh at the end of his career (mid to late 80s) and was still pretty effective. He signed for Leigh from Widnes in part exchange for Derek Pyke another ball handling forward. 

I remember him having both the pubs mentioned , and the sign over the door on the Victoria in Newton le Willows said 'Harold Pinner'....I'd never seen him called by his full name before. 

My last sighting of him was behind him in a queue for fish and chips in the chippy on Newton High Street. It was maybe 25 years ago.   

harry pinner 2.jpg

harr pinner 3.jpg

harry pinner.jpg

Edited by Andy JG
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2 hours ago, Rioman said:

One of the last great ball handling forwards along with Lee Crooks.

gary divorty - david heron - steve norton - another 3

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see you later undertaker - in a while necrophile 

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For a while he trained in our garage, where my father used to give fitness and weight sessions, so I met him then (as a shy teenager). He was arguably a reluctant trainer but put a ball in his hands and he was a magician. I remember him toying with a ball effortlessly, and his saying “it doesn’t matter if it’s a foot or 10 feet, fast or slow. It just needs to find a runner…” Honestly, the years roll away at the memory. 

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A small anecdote, but for some reason his name is seared into my sporting memory from one of those many great games on Grandstand in the 80s - GB's draw with the Kiwis in 1985. Pinner was captain, and when Lee Crooks knocked over a last minute touchline penalty to draw the game and the series, I've never forgotten Ray French extolling "Look at the smile on Harry Pinner's face", and Pinner indeed with a huge grin.

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2 hours ago, graveyard johnny said:

gary divorty - david heron - steve norton - another 3

May I add John Pendlebury to the list? 

In terms of Harry... such an elegant player with ball in hand, resolute and highly likeable too. That despite this spectator being of the cherry and white persuasion. 

Looking forward to watching the film as I wish the game still had loose forwards like Pinner, Pendlebury, et al. Just like I wish there were more stand offs like John Woods, Tony Myler, Nigel Wright... 

It's still a good game but artists like these seem to not figure as much nowadays. 

Or maybe I'm old and living in the past. 

 

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Just now, Superb Chops said:

May I add John Pendlebury to the list? 

In terms of Harry... such an elegant player with ball in hand, resolute and highly likeable too. That despite this spectator being of the cherry and white persuasion. 

Looking forward to watching the film as I wish the game still had loose forwards like Pinner, Pendlebury, et al. Just like I wish there were more stand offs like John Woods, Tony Myler, Nigel Wright... 

It's still a good game but artists like these seem to not figure as much nowadays. 

Or maybe I'm old and living in the past. 

 

no your right

 

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see you later undertaker - in a while necrophile 

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6 hours ago, Andy JG said:

Harry was a magnificent ball playing loose forward, who could put a teammate through a gap with a brilliantly timed pass. I'm not sure that the type of player exists in the modern game.

My main memories are from games I was in the crowd for as a youngster.

1977. St Helens v Warrington Premiership Final at Station Road....I was a 10 year old sat in the old wooden Townsend Road stand...Pinner was sent off for a full proper fist fight with Alan Gwilliam the Warrington scrum half. I don't recall much of the match apart from being there, Saints winning , and the sending off.

1978. St Helens v Leeds at Wembley. This is one of the, if not the greatest Cup Final of all time. Pinner was in the losing Saints team who made a try scored by Liptrot by launching an up and under which was dropped behind the Leeds line to gift Saints an early try. I was stood behind the posts at the tunnel end where this happened.

I thought he was a great player.

Pinner also played for my team Leigh at the end of his career (mid to late 80s) and was still pretty effective. He signed for Leigh from Widnes in part exchange for Derek Pyke another ball handling forward. 

I remember him having both the pubs mentioned , and the sign over the door on the Victoria in Newton le Willows said 'Harold Pinner'....I'd never seen him called by his full name before. 

My last sighting of him was behind him in a queue for fish and chips in the chippy on Newton High Street. It was maybe 25 years ago.   

harry pinner 2.jpg

harr pinner 3.jpg

harry pinner.jpg

Love these photos and the memories thanks for sharing

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Lucky enough to be friends with one of Harry's good friends and accompanied him to a Saints game last season

A lovely fella and very very funny 

Great watching the respect he gets from fans when he walks by

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3 hours ago, Superb Chops said:

May I add John Pendlebury to the list? 

In terms of Harry... such an elegant player with ball in hand, resolute and highly likeable too. That despite this spectator being of the cherry and white persuasion. 

Looking forward to watching the film as I wish the game still had loose forwards like Pinner, Pendlebury, et al. Just like I wish there were more stand offs like John Woods, Tony Myler, Nigel Wright... 

It's still a good game but artists like these seem to not figure as much nowadays. 

Or maybe I'm old and living in the past. 

 

Deserved the Lance Todd in 1987 saved a try, set up the try for Eadie and dropped a goal.

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2 hours ago, Coggo said:

I’m not a fervent traditionalist but rugby league is poorer for the demise of ball-playing loose forwards like Pinner.

Edited by rlno1
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2 hours ago, Coggo said:

I’m not a fervent traditionalist but rugby league is poorer for the demise of ball-playing loose forwards like Pinner.

Pinner opened the Australians up numerous times with his skill in that 3rd Test of 1986, a pleasure to watch. Gt Britain were robbed in this Test by wrong decisions by the ref, one being a try on the 7th tackle.

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17 hours ago, graveyard johnny said:

no your right

 

Will take that, as I am rarely. Thanks Johnny. 

Thanks also to Andy JG for posting those excellent photos. Am I right in thinking one of them sees the current England coach is face down in mud? 

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3 hours ago, Superb Chops said:

Will take that, as I am rarely. Thanks Johnny. 

Thanks also to Andy JG for posting those excellent photos. Am I right in thinking one of them sees the current England coach is face down in mud? 

isn't that ian potter getting tackled?

see you later undertaker - in a while necrophile 

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14 hours ago, graveyard johnny said:

isn't that ian potter getting tackled?

Yes I think it's Ian Potter. The picture is from the 1984/85 Lancashire Cup Final in front of over 26000 at Central Park.

Also can see Nicky Kiss, Andy Platt and Peter Gorley. 

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5 hours ago, Andy JG said:

Yes I think it's Ian Potter. The picture is from the 1984/85 Lancashire Cup Final in front of over 26000 at Central Park.

Also can see Nicky Kiss, Andy Platt and Peter Gorley. 

I think I posted about this game recently. It was during the miners strike and I have never attended a RL game with such a volatile atmosphere.

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