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

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Carl Gibson

Originally signed in the summer of 1993 as a winger or centre, Carl Gibson made the switch to number one late in his career. With star full-back Chris Bibb struggling for form and fitness, coach Steve Martin turned first to Martin Pearson and then to Gibson to plug the gap. After starting his career at Batley in 1981, Carl made a big enough name for himself to win a Great Britain cap whilst still at Mount Pleasant. He then made a big money move to Leeds, where he spent seven years, playing almost 200 games for the Loiners, setting a record along the way of 91 consecutive appearances. He added to his collection of international honours, being selected on the same summer tour to New Zealand as Chris Bibb in the summer of 1990. His career highlight came later that year as centre for Great Britain against Australia at Wembley in an historic win. The other centre that day was of course our very own Daryl Powell. At 29 years old Gibson was approaching veteran status when he moved to Post Office Road.

At Featherstone, with Paul Newlove gone and Andy Currier immediately injured, Carl had pressure on him from the start, but he took this coolly in his stride. He played at centre until Christmas, before the call came to switch to full-back. There he looked assured and confident, and the extra space at the back gave him room to show the speed he still had. An ever present in his first year, notching an impressive 17 tries, he repeated the feat the following year, adding another 10 tries, and it looked like he would break Percy Morris’s long standing consecutive appearances record. 

When Rovers were excluded from Super League, Carl stayed loyal as Rovers went into the lower league. During the centenary season Chris Bibb made a brief comeback reclaiming the number one shirt, and Carl swopped back to centre with no fuss. When injuries finally got the better of Bibb, Carl was back at full-back. Slowly he approached Morris’ mythical figure, but a cruel injury put a stop to his run on an agonising 87 straight games when he missed the trip to Huddersfield in January 1996. (The record was actually broken years later by another winger-cum-full-back Matt Bramald).

After playing through the first summer season Carl Gibson went back to hometown team Batley to play three farewell matches before he retired in 1996, having played a total of 97 games for Featherstone and scoring 37 tries.

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