BRIAN Bevan's remarkable Warrington career came to an end in Ernie Ashcroft's first season as coach.

And the Australian flyer scored his 740th try in his 620th game to say a fond farewell to the Wire fans who were still a gaze in awe of the great wingman's presence.

The sidesteps, the swerves, the foolery, the speed it all ended for the Wilderspool crowd on Easter Monday, 1962, an amazing 17 years after playing his first game as a trialist.

It was an emotional departure.

Bill Garvin wrote in his Warrington Rugby League Club centenary publication: "Leigh were defeated 29-17 and after the match was over the crowd gathered in front of the main stand chanting 'We want Bev'.

"He came into the stands and while he smiled and waved to the crowd, they sang Waltzing Matilda. It was a very moving occasion. The directors invited Brian into the boardroom where official goodbyes were said."

More than 16,000 fans turned up that day to give the world record try scorer a rousing send off.

Many on the terraces were saying such words as: "We'll never see the likes of him again. There will only ever be one Brian Bevan."

In his time at Wilderspool Warrington won 12 major trophies in as many seasons and many of his stunning tries had proved on occasions to be the difference between disappointment and success.

And it was probably no coincidence that Warrington took a long time to settle after Bevan's departure to Blackpool. Despite some well known names the likes of Alistair Brindle, Jim Challinor, Tom Conroy, Henry Delooze, Jackie Edwards, Laurie Gilfedder, Bobby Greenough, Bill Payne and Charlie Winslade the success of the fifties could not be repeated by coach Ashcroft.

There was a split to two divisions in 1962/63 with Warrington gaining sixth spot in the top flight but it was only after reverting to a one-division set up that Wire had renewed taste of glory.

Ashcroft won his only competition as Wire coach in the 1965/66 campaign, the Lancashire Cup. Warrington beat Rochdale Hornets in the final 16-5 with Ray Fisher, Brian Glover and Jackie Melling scoring tries. Glover was the new wing wizard at Wilderspool. He had topped the club's try scoring charts since Bevan's departure.

Also, for the first time in seven years, Warrington won the Silcock Cup, defeating Widnes in the final of the annual seven-a-side competition.

As well as league restructuring in this era there were some other important changes. Substitutes were used for the first time in 1964/65 with Joe Pickavance being Wire's first to wear a replacement's shirt.

A friendly was played against Wigan in 1965 to celebrate the installation of floodlights at Wilderspool. Warrington lost that game to the cherry and whites.

Success was proving difficult to come by for Warrington and, in a search for the man to turn the tide, Wire appointed new coaches in J. Fleming in 1967, Joe Egan in 1969 and then Peter Harvey in 1970.

Attendances had dwindled, costs were rising and the club were understandably having financial difficulties. After the glory days of the fifties, it was certainly a case of the dark days of the sixties.

The club was saved by a take-over bid from new chairman Ossie Davies and as part of the rescue package on May 20, 1971, Alex Murphy was appointed the new player/coach of the club.