In Memory Of Terry Entwistle

Leigh Centurions are saddened to learn of the passing of their former halfback Terry Entwistle in his native Wigan at the age of 79 and pass on sincere condolences to his family at this time.

Terry played 152 games for Leigh in the 1960s having started his professional career with Wigan and he later played for Blackpool Borough.

Bob Welding played alongside him in the Leigh side. “Terry was a Wigan lad who came to Leigh when Alan Prescott was coach,” Bob recalls. “He was a scrum-half with a good pair of hands, but his main asset was his defence. He was very strong defensively and as he was a bonny lad for a scrum-half. He could hold his own in any company.

“Terry was always a bit of a joker and was very good for team spirt. He was big mates with our prop Bill Robinson, another Wigan lad and he was a good player to have alongside you.

“It’s an old cliché but you’d rather have had him on your side than playing against you.

“When it came down to the nitty-gritty of playing Rugby League you could rely on Terry.”

Tommy Dickens also played alongside Entwistle at Hilton Park. “Terry was a great lad,” Tommy recalls. “Being from Wigan, Jim Parr, Terry and me used to meet one another and travel together to training and matches and we had a good laugh.

(Photo) The Leigh side from Sep 1965. Back row (l to r)- Martyn, Tickle, J Parr, Walmsley, Higgs, M Murphy, Robinson. Front row (l to r)- Dickens, Hoffman, Entwistle, Tyrer, Risman, Lewis, Hindley, G Smith.

“Terry was from a coal-bagging family and worked for his dad as a teenager. That made him very strong in the shoulders, just as it did for David Eckersley, another great Leigh player with a similar background from the same era.

“Terry was very strong defensively and he was a good player to have on your team. He’d partnered Dave Bolton at halfback at Wigan but lost his place due to the emergence of Frankie Parr and Wigan also brought in players like (former Scotland RU international) Brian Shillinglaw and Oldham’s Frank Pitchford around that time. Wigan’s loss was Leigh’s gain and Terry really enjoyed his time at Hilton Park.

“When his career was over Terry continued to watch the game avidly and used to go regularly to Central Park. His father made him get a trade and he was a painter and decorator for the rest of his working life, so many people in the local area will remember him, not just for his rugby.”

After signing professional from the Spring View amateur club Entwistle had played 94 games for Wigan over six seasons, scoring eleven tries and kicking two goals. He won a Championship-winners medal in 1959-60 and was a member of the Wigan side defeated 12-6 by St Helens in the 1961 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley. He joined Leigh initially on loan and made his debut in a 22-12 home win over Whitehaven at Hilton Park in April 1963, retrospectively earning heritage number #719.

The following season, 1963-64, he played in 41 of Leigh’s 42 games, often partnering the late Austin Rhodes in a fine combination at half-back. Together they played in the Leigh side defeated 15-4 by St Helens in the 1963 Lancashire Cup Final in front of 21,321 spectators at Station Road, Swinton.

He made one more cup final appearance for Leigh in the 1967 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy at Wheldon Road when Castleford lifted the trophy by virtue of a nail-biting 8-5 win before 9,525 spectators. During that season, with Alex Murphy now installed as player-coach, Entwistle played in 40 of Leigh’s 43 games as they finished seventh in the league, their best position for seven seasons.

Entwistle last played in December 1968 in a Floodlit Trophy semi-final defeat at Central Park. Wigan won 9-7 in front of 12,000 spectators. He scored 14 tries and kicked one goal in 136 starts for Leigh plus a further 16 from the substitute’s bench.

After a spell out of the game Entwistle was transferred to Blackpool Borough for a £250 fee in September 1969 where he teamed up again with his old Wigan team-mate Billy Boston and he played out his distinguished career with two seasons at the seaside.

Terry Entwistle, b Wigan Dec 1939, d Wigan May 2019.

An obituary by Mike Latham with thanks to Bob Welding and Tommy Dickens.

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