Former St Helens hooker Micky Higham celebrating 20 year love affair with the sport

Micky Higham in his St Helens days
Micky Higham in his St Helens days
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Today means something special for former St Helens hooker Micky Higham. It's Valentine's Day and also marks the 20th anniversary of his love affair with Rugby League.

Higham's first team career was launched by Leigh when head coach Ian Millward, later to hold a similar post at St Helens, selected him for a Challenge Cup tie at Barrow on Sunday, February 14, 1999.

With injuries already hitting his small squad, new Aussie boss Millward called up a young hooker, recently signed from Leigh Miners, seven months shy of his 19th birthday.

Since then he has played 530 senior games in three spells at Leigh, and time at St Helens, Wigan and Warrington and is still going strong at the age of 38.

He currently skippers the Centurions and still has vivid memories of his debut which ended in a 33-16 victory.

He recalls: ''We were struggling with injuries and Basil (coach Millward) had a word with me in the week.

"I hadn't expected to get my chance in the first-team so quickly and I didn't really have time to get nervous. Anthony Murray and Nick Jenkins were the Leigh hookers at the time and both were a big help to me.

"Barrow had a big strong side and I remember looking at Stuart Rhodes and thinking I'd never seen anyone as big.

"But Timmy Street really looked after me, both before the game and during it and he had a big part to play in helping a lot of young lads making their way in the game

Higham moved to St Helens in November 2000 and was soon to demonstrate his skills on the big stage for the first time.

He played from the interchange bench in the 2002 Super League Grand Final victory against Bradford Bulls.

Having won Super League VI, St Helens contested the 2003 World Club Challenge against 2002 NRL Premiers, Sydney Roosters. Higham played

from the interchange bench in Saints' 38–0 loss.