Some people collect programmes from every match their club plays. Others collect only from the matches they’ve been to. Others save only the programmes from special occasions as a keepsake of a memorable event. For those in the latter category, it’s quite possible that this is one programme from November 1991 that fans would choose to hold on to.
It was Rovers’ third game in six days in the Regal Trophy, a competition that Featherstone had never excelled in, for some reason. The match the Sunday before at Bramley had been postponed because of fog (those were the days!) and played on the Tuesday night. A substandard show saw Rovers scrape a draw and then back up 48 hours later to win the home replay 44-8. That same weekend Halifax came to town for the 2nd round fixture, YTV brought their Scrumdown cameras too so we could watch the highlights on the box that night. They had a job on managing to fit all those highlights into a sixty minute show because, from a Rovers perspective, the match was an absolute dream. Commentators John Helm and David Watkins could hardly contain themselves. Here was Martin Pearson scything through for try after try, there was Paul Newlove at his indestructible best, with lightening finishing from Owen Simpson, and a whopping 64-18 success for Rovers with nine second half tries despite playing with just twelve men (Andy Fisher got a red card in the first half). Great stuff.
Typical of the programmes printed for Cup competitions around then, this issue didn’t have the usual cover of that season (a colour photo of Deryck Fox) but was given over to the tobacco sponsors, hence the boring blue cover. Inside though, programmes from season1991/92 were a cracking read with a stack of well written articles. There was an interview with Ian Smales for the home team, and Paul Harkin for the visitors. The player profile was of crowd-pleaser Gary Rose, replete with a scary looking photo of Gary’s tattooed biceps. There were plenty of action photos of the stars of the day, as well as reports on the reserve team fixtures. What caught my eye on the kiddies page was a photo of an angelic little lad who had been the ball boy at a recent game called James Houston. It’s one of the joys of reading through old programmes to come across gems like this. Rovers’ current prop forward obviously started his association with the club early. Elsewhere, tucked into the match reports form local junior rugby matches were names like Jamie Rooney playing for the Travellers U13s, Danny Evans for the U17s and even Robert Burrow scoring a try for the U11s. Great stuff indeed.