Some people may have thought that in this age of internet and immediate access to news that the match programme as an official organ of the club would become obsolete. But here we are in 2012 and the Rovers programme, now called 'Pride and Passion' is still going strong. Looking back at old programmes and the matches they were printed for is a good way of exploring the club’s history .
This programme was printed 60 years ago, for a cup clash between Featherstone and Leigh. As you can see from the front cover, the 1952 Challenge cup semi-final programme would have won no awards for design flair. The game was played at Headingley and as such the programme was produced by the RFL. It cost sixpence but you didn’t get much for your money, just eight pages printed on the thinnest paper with the players’ pen pictures, team photos and a couple of short articles. In the Rovers profiles, some of the lads were given their full “Sunday best” names, hence Kenneth Welburn, Raymond Evans and William Bradshaw. Others, it seemed didn’t make the upgrade, Hulme and Miller both remaining plain old Fred! Even more puzzling was Norman Mitchell’s appearance as Antony (perhaps his first given name, or just a mistake?). It was interesting to note that of the Rovers fifteen, six were born in the village of Featherstone, others came from Sandal, Glass Houghton, Leeds and Hull. The only ‘outsider’ was that famous son of Cork, John Daly. In the Leigh line up was ageing player-coach Joe Egan, legendary Jimmy Ledgard at full back and an Aussie second-rower named Rex Mossop who went on to have a long career as a TV commentator down under. Rex was one of three ex-Union Australians in the Leigh side, the others being Trevor Allen and Jeff Burke.
The game itself was tough and dour with so much at stake, and indeed no tries were scored in the 80 minutes as the forwards kept it tight and shuffled round the field from scrum to scrum. It was the graft of the aforementioned Welburn, Bradshaw and Daly among others who set the platform for Rovers’ victory. In the end it came down to how many penalty goals Miller and Ledgard could kick, and it was Miller who won, three kicks to one giving Rovers a 6-2 win and the reward of their first ever trip to Wembley.
Buying and selling old programmes is as popular nowadays as it ever was, with websites as well as programme catalogues and auctions helping fans build up their collections. This slightly difficult to get semi-final programme is worth about £10 nowadays in the programme collecting market.