Two former Stars Die

Date published: Monday, January 21, 2013

TWO former Oldham Rugby League Club team mates, Vinny Nestor and Jim McCormack, have died within three days of each other, aged 75 and 73 respectively.
Nestor’s last season at Watersheddings, 1964-65, coincided with McCormack’s first and in that season they played in the same Oldham side more than 20 times, often occupying the two centre positions.
Father of current Swinton Lions boss Steve McCormack, Jim had been ill with heart problems for a long time.
His funeral is on Thursday, January 24 (9.30am) at St Cuthbert’s RC Church, Pemberton, Wigan, WN5 9QN. The funeral directors are R. Barnes of Pemberton, (tel: 01942 222156).
The funeral service for Vinny Nestor, who died peacefully in his sleep at his Leigh home, will be at St Joseph’s RC Church in Leigh at noon on Friday, January 25.
David Croft, a nephew, said: “My uncle was extremely proud, yet modest, to have been a member of one of the Oldham club’s most successful sides.
“The club had a special place in his heart. I never tired of listening to his stories about his playing days at Watersheddings.”
NESTOR signed for Oldham from Tyldsley RU Club in 1955, aged 17, and went on to make 232 first-team appearances (86 tries) during a period when Roughyeds won the Lancashire Cup three seasons in a row and also carried off the Rugby League Championship Trophy in 1957.
Though essentially a centre, his all-round rugby ability enabled him to represent the club in every position outside of the pack, with the exception of scrum-half.
He played centre to Dick Cracknell in the club’s 13-8 Lancashire Cup final win over Wigan in 1957; on the wing, outside John Noon, in the Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Hull in 1960; and at stand-off in the epic Challenge Cup semi-final of 1964 against Hull KR which went to two replays before Rovers broke Oldham hearts with a 12-2 win at Huddersfield in the third game.
In the following season, his last before receiving a ten-year benefit and moving to Salford to see out what was left of his career, his centre-wing partnership with his fellow Leigh lad, Geoff Sims, was admired by rugby purists throughout the sport.
McCORMACK came to Oldham from Wigan at the start of the 64-65 season, a strong, hard-tackling centre who was bought to allow Peter Smethurst to move out of the threequarters into the pack.
He held down a first-team spot until the 1971-72 season when a shoulder injury forced his retirement after 165 senior games for Oldham, in which he scored 32 tries.
He played in two Lancashire Cup finals, the first in 1966 when Oldham were pipped 16-13 by Wigan at Swinton and again two years later when St Helens cruised past the Roughyeds 30-2 at Wigan after Oldham had led 2-0 at half-time.
The ’66 team, beaten in front of a 14,193 crowd, lined up like this: McLeod; Dolly, McCormack, Donovan, Simms; Warburton, Canning; Wilson, Taylor, Fletcher, Smethurst, Irving, Mooney. Subs: Holroyd, Ogden.
Two years later, watched by a Central Park crowd of more than 17,000, Oldham fielded this team: Murphy; Elliott, Larder, McCormack, Whitehead; Briggs, Canning; Wilson, Taylor, Fletcher, Irving, McCourt, Hughes.Subs: Buckley, Maders.
McCormack was one of several Oldham players who were capped by Lancashire in his early days at Watersheddings, alongside the likes of John Donovan, Harry Major, Len McIntyre and Dave Parker.