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Ancient History, Rovers v Swinton, 1960s


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#1 PurstonJavelin

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 05:24 AM

It may have been a cup match. In the days of contested scrums, what I believe would have been a good Rovers team had the vast majority of possession - Willis Fawley at hooker, perhaps? - and the vast majority of territory, spending, it seemed to me, almost the final hour battering the Swinton line. Swinton held out with what may have been the most resolute defence I have ever seen, winning 4-0 or 5-0. Can anyone identify the match, please?

Ancillary questions - I can see much of the benefit of uncontested scrums. When did they come in? Was there a transition from shared head and feed to the non-offending side having head and feed? Who would have been the last Rovers' hooker to win significant ball against the head and feed?

Thanks



#2 oldrover

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:34 AM

Les Tonks probably won more ball for us against head and feed than anybody else


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#3 bigjohn

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:39 AM

I remember we played them maybe in the early 70s it was a midweek game and we ended up drawing the game 12 v12 scoring our last try in the dark lol very lucky that day.



#4 marklaspalmas

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:34 PM

I remember we played them maybe in the early 70s it was a midweek game and we ended up drawing the game 12 v12 scoring our last try in the dark lol very lucky that day.

 

3rd April 1970. Played on a wednesday evening. Final score Rovers 8 Swinton 8.



#5 marklaspalmas

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:36 PM

Les Tonks probably won more ball for us against head and feed than anybody else

 

I think you're right, although I don't remember the era. Open side prop worked closely in tandem with the hooker to win the ball at scrums.



#6 marklaspalmas

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 07:42 PM

It may have been a cup match. In the days of contested scrums, what I believe would have been a good Rovers team had the vast majority of possession - Willis Fawley at hooker, perhaps? - and the vast majority of territory, spending, it seemed to me, almost the final hour battering the Swinton line. Swinton held out with what may have been the most resolute defence I have ever seen, winning 4-0 or 5-0. Can anyone identify the match, please?

Ancillary questions - I can see much of the benefit of uncontested scrums. When did they come in? Was there a transition from shared head and feed to the non-offending side having head and feed? Who would have been the last Rovers' hooker to win significant ball against the head and feed?

Thanks

 

I can't find which match you are referring to. Home or away? 50s? 60s?

 

I don't think there was one particular year when scrums became uncontested, more a gradual tweaking of the rules to get to the current situation. For me a key year was 1983, with the introduction of the handover which greatly reduced scrum numbers in a match. After then, no-striking, tolerence of feeding, no pushing etc gradually came in.

 

If we see 83 as a key date, it'd make players like Ray Handscombe as the last of the old style, Bob Spurr as a transitional phase hooker, and Trevor Clark the first of the modern style hooker.



#7 Andrew Vause

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:03 PM

This is what it's all about. Real Rugby debate and nostalgia.
I don't know the answers to these questions but one memory that a few of us may remember is this;
We played Leeds in a night game at home and it would have been in September / October 1993. I was staying in Gran Canaria at the time so I wasn't going to games, but I remember ringing home to get the score. We won in the last minute. Apparently we were losing, and Leeds thinking they had won the game switched off thinking that they had a scrum with head and feed in our half and were leading with a slender margin. We won the scrum against the head and feed and went up the field and scored what turned out to be the winning try. 'Hammy the Hamster' Roebuck had something to do with it, either winning the scrum or scoring the try or both, not sure as I wasn't there. What I do remember however was a fuss been made about the fact that a hooker had won a feed against the head. So logically there must have been some scrum restructuring around the late eighties early nineties. I remember speaking with Jamie Field once, he said that he played under 14s with contested scrums. He's about 40 now so this would coincide roughly with the late 80s early 90s time period.

Edited by Andrew Vause, 22 May 2014 - 08:14 PM.


#8 Andrew Vause

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:18 PM

There was a significant factor in Rovers 83 cup win, as Mark says Ray Handscombe he won the scrum 9-5 versus Keith Bridges.

#9 marklaspalmas

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:39 PM

From a GB perspective, it was the likes of David ward and Watkinson who were the last of the old school. Then Noble, Beardmore, etc in the transition from one role to another, and such as Dermott and Jackson who were the new modern style.



#10 Andrew Vause

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:04 PM

I've just remembered another couple of things. GB beat Australia, I think, in Sydney in 1988, we'd lost to them for years. Ironically GB had lost their hooker before the game, perhaps Dermott, although he'd be very young then and maybe Nicky Kiss would have still been first choice hooker at Wigan so it could have been Lee Jackson or Kev B ...........anyway the hooker was crocked and GB used an SR, Paul Hulme to fulfil the role, they famously won the Test and this was with a non specialist hooker.

The thing though that sticks in my mind a few years later, in the 95 WC semi is that Robbie Paul was placed as hooker in the New Zealand line up against Australia. The kangaroos won in extra time, but Paul had a fabulous game, and someone commented that they could now play a half back at hooker as the scrums were no longer contested. This was a novel move at the time, leading me to believe, in hindsight, that the Hooking Role had only been modified shortly before that time.

Edited by Andrew Vause, 22 May 2014 - 09:04 PM.


#11 Jimmy B

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:47 PM

I would have loved to have seen Robbie Paul hooking against Willis Fawley !

The greatest "ball getter" I have seen in a Rovers jersey has to be John (Keith) Bridges, at times it was embarrasing how much ball he won, albeit, as has been said, much assisted by Les Tonks.


Edited by Jimmy B, 22 May 2014 - 10:50 PM.

Lets not forget, Featherstone Rovers is a RUGBY club.

#12 PurstonJavelin

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 05:16 AM

I can't find which match you are referring to. Home or away? 50s? 60s?

 

I don't think there was one particular year when scrums became uncontested, more a gradual tweaking of the rules to get to the current situation. For me a key year was 1983, with the introduction of the handover which greatly reduced scrum numbers in a match. After then, no-striking, tolerence of feeding, no pushing etc gradually came in.

 

If we see 83 as a key date, it'd make players like Ray Handscombe as the last of the old style, Bob Spurr as a transitional phase hooker, and Trevor Clark the first of the modern style hooker.

Many thanks for trying. It was at home, but I'm dealing with shreds of memory here. It would have been early 60s, I think, definitely not the 1970 match referred to; I was "away" for that.

And thanks for mentioning Trevor Clark. I'd made a mental review of Rovers' hookers, and missed one of the best. Did he play centre at times, or is that another shredded memory?

Tolerence of feeding was significant. Along with the handover, it became a statement that possession was more or less to be shared out throughout the match. I seem to remember that the rules (or the interpretation of) actually stated that the ball could be fed into the second row.



#13 PurstonJavelin

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 06:36 AM

I don't think there was one particular year when scrums became uncontested, more a gradual tweaking of the rules to get to the current situation. For me a key year was 1983, with the introduction of the handover which greatly reduced scrum numbers in a match. After then, no-striking, tolerence of feeding, no pushing etc gradually came in.

 

If we see 83 as a key date, it'd make players like Ray Handscombe as the last of the old style, Bob Spurr as a transitional phase hooker, and Trevor Clark the first of the modern style hooker.

And thank you for this: an excellent summary of the transition from contested to uncontested scrums.



#14 Rodill Rover

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 06:53 AM

There was a significant factor in Rovers 83 cup win, as Mark says Ray Handscombe he won the scrum 9-5 versus Keith Bridges.

 

Ray was a superb example of the old style hooker, in beating one of the best in the '83 final he was ably abetted by Terry Hudson who dominated around the scrum and had a signal set up with Ray of when to feed, giving him a clear advantage of when to strike as penalties for striking early were given on a regular basis.

His attacking play was like having an extra prop and his defence was solid often containing something solid and painful for the opposition. ;)



#15 marklaspalmas

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 08:36 AM

Many thanks for trying. It was at home, but I'm dealing with shreds of memory here. It would have been early 60s, I think, definitely not the 1970 match referred to; I was "away" for that.

And thanks for mentioning Trevor Clark. I'd made a mental review of Rovers' hookers, and missed one of the best. Did he play centre at times, or is that another shredded memory?

Tolerence of feeding was significant. Along with the handover, it became a statement that possession was more or less to be shared out throughout the match. I seem to remember that the rules (or the interpretation of) actually stated that the ball could be fed into the second row.

 

OK. How about May 1963 home match. Willis Fawley was hooker and we lost 5-0. Only thing though, that was against Huddersfield, not Swinton.



#16 bigjohn

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 11:17 AM

I think you're right, although I don't remember the era. Open side prop worked closely in tandem with the hooker to win the ball at scrums.

lol thanks for putting me right Mark we never looked like scoring that night.



#17 1945 onwards

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 12:07 PM

I can remember a game when the Rovers won every scrum until about the last ten minutes. I can't remember much else!  I think it was a cup game against Salford but who was the hooker?



#18 PurstonJavelin

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 05:05 AM

OK. How about May 1963 home match. Willis Fawley was hooker and we lost 5-0. Only thing though, that was against Huddersfield, not Swinton.

That must be the one. I said shreds of memory. Thanks.



#19 Steve Slater

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 09:23 AM

This is what it's all about. Real Rugby debate and nostalgia.
I don't know the answers to these questions but one memory that a few of us may remember is this;
We played Leeds in a night game at home and it would have been in September / October 1993. I was staying in Gran Canaria at the time so I wasn't going to games, but I remember ringing home to get the score. We won in the last minute. Apparently we were losing, and Leeds thinking they had won the game switched off thinking that they had a scrum with head and feed in our half and were leading with a slender margin. We won the scrum against the head and feed and went up the field and scored what turned out to be the winning try. 'Hammy the Hamster' Roebuck had something to do with it, either winning the scrum or scoring the try or both, not sure as I wasn't there. What I do remember however was a fuss been made about the fact that a hooker had won a feed against the head. So logically there must have been some scrum restructuring around the late eighties early nineties. I remember speaking with Jamie Field once, he said that he played under 14s with contested scrums. He's about 40 now so this would coincide roughly with the late 80s early 90s time period.

I can remember such a game, but I'm sure it was against Halifax. Roebuck did score at the death to win the game, and he might have been playing hooker. He was a utility forward, mainly 13 or 9,and we also had Richard Gunn and one of the Southernwoods playing in the same position around that time.
One other factor regarding the modern day hooker was the change from 5 to 10 metres for the defensive line up at the play the ball, although only one marker was allowed.

#20 1945 onwards

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 12:31 PM

I did a bit of digging and in Ron Bailey's book "Fifty of the Finest Matches" I came across Rovers v Salford 28 January 1973.  He says John Howard (Keith) Bridges won the first half scrums 12-0  and Salford didn't heel the ball until the 59th minute. That, probably the best ever Rovers hooking spell, enabled the Rovers to win 18-11.






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