The long and rich history of Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Football Club

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Deryck Fox

Before he’d even played a game, he was described by that sage observer Keith Goulding as a “Nash-Millward-Agar all rolled into one” and the truth is that Deryck Fox’s glittering career lived up to expectations. Whilst Rovers were basking in Wembley glory in the summer of 1983, Fox was part of an astonishingly successful BARLA Youth team that toured New Zealand under the coaching of Ken Everson. In that tour squad alongside Fox were Garry Schofield, Mike Ford, Roy Powell, Gary Divorty (Ross’s dad) among others. Deryck came off that tour and went virtually straight into the Rovers line-up. He quickly became a model of consistency, in both attack and defence,  and missed very few games in next nine seasons at the club. In only his second year as a professional he won his first Great Britain cap against France, and later played the full series against the 1985 Kiwis and 1986 Kangaroos.
For Rovers, he was our attacking lynchpin, with nearly all of the team’s distribution and kicking done through him. He innovated a number of moves, and perfected the art of the reverse cross-field grubber. He was also a phenomenal tackler, regularly top of the count alongside much bigger front-row forwards. He may have lacked a little pace, but he was a fitness fanatic which helped his all round contribution. He spent the summer of 1986 guesting for Western Suburbs in Australia and despite persistent rumours of richer clubs trying to sign him, he stuck with Rovers, even during relegation in 1987. He was inexplicably missed off the 1988 tour down under, but won a belated place on the 1992 tour. That year Rovers had been relegated again, and Fox finally decided to move on and he made a big money move to Bradford where we won back his international jersey and enjoyed three successful seasons. By the end of his career he had won 14 caps, as well as a number of starring roles for Yorkshire in the ‘War of the Roses’.
With the advent of super league, Fox moved back to Featherstone and his organisation and vision helped the club through a difficult transition phase from 1995 to 1997, though by then he was at the veteran stage. After being released by Rovers he had a spell as player-coach at Rochdale before finishing back where he started in the amateur game at Shaw Cross Sharks and Thornhill Trojans.
In total Fox played 353 games for Rovers (14th on the all-time list), managed 84 tries and kicked 436 goals (10th on the all-time list) for a grand total of 1,145 points (7th on the all-time list). In 2010 Deryck became the fourth scrum-half in our history to be elected to the Hall of Fame, following Don Fox, Steve Nash and Carl Dooler.

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