Tributes paid to ex-Oldham legend Kevin

Date published: 18 March 2020

Former Oldham, England and Lancashire rugby league star Kevin Taylor has been found dead at his home in Garden Suburb, Oldham, where he lived alone.

Police and paramedics made the discovery after being alerted by neighbours, who hadn't seen the 73-year-old former hooker for more than a fortnight.

News of Kevin's death was broken by the club's Ex-Players' Association late last night (Tuesday).

Said secretary Joe Warburton: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin's family and friends.

"He was an Oldham RLFC legend.

"It is with great regret and sadness that we report his death."

Those sentiments were echoed by current club chairman Chris Hamilton on behalf  of the present-day club.

Its players, backroom staff and supporters will remember the era when Kevin was the Roughyeds' hooker back in the days of contested scrums when players with a No 9 on their back were 'real' hookers of the ball.

Kevin was one of only seven Watersheddings players in 125 years of rugby league in Oldham to appear in more than 400 games for the club and, with 429 games, he and Harry Ogden were joint third behind Martin Murphy (462) and Mike Elliott (446) in the list of post-war appearances.

Born and brought up in the St Mary's district of the town -- an area that has produced numerous rugby league players of repute over the years -- Kevin signed for Oldham shortly after his 16th birthday from the then Werneth club.

He made his senior debut at Castleford in the 1962-3 season and went on to be a mainstay of the Oldham front-row for the next 14 years.

He saw his job as more than winning the ball in scrum battles that were often fiercely-fought wars of attrition in the front-rows of scrums that could regularly be described as battle grounds.

He was quick in the loose and his anticipation of a team mate's break was such that he scored 60 tries in his Oldham career and twice topped the club's try chart in 1966-7 and in 1967-8.

He had the honour of making his debut for England under-24s against France on his home ground at Watersheddings which marked the first game under floodlights there in October, 1965.

His last game for his home-town team was at Salford on January 2, 1977 after which he left to end his career at Leigh.

When he pulled off the Oldham shirt for the last time at The Willows it was, without doubt, the end of an era.

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