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

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Story of Wembley 1983. Part IX

Thirty Years On.....

After what seemed like months of anxious waiting, but was in fact only six weeks after our semi-final triumph over Bradford, Rovers stepped onto the hallowed Wembley turf (the old Wembley Stadium had no grass of course, only hallowed turf). What happened over the next eighty minutes has been written about many times, but really needed to be seen to be believed. Those of us who were there will never forget what happened, and each person has their own precious memories of that day. For those that weren’t, beg, borrow or buy a copy of the game on DVD to try and capture the flavour of Featherstone’s finest hour.

My own highlights of the day were a mixture of all kinds of different incidents:
  • Stopping off at Leicester Forest East service station for a greasy breakfast on the drive down the M1.
  • Buying a flag outside the stadium, and realising that our small town club was going to be playing on the biggest stage.
  • Reading the home-made banners of the fans on the terraces as the stadium filled up. Ours were better than Hull’s. “Hull have the kiwis, Rovers have the polish” was my favourite.
  • Dave Hobbs’ try and what a great start we had. Even if we weren’t going to win, we’d given Hull a bloody nose.
  • John Gilbert looking like he’s in Disneyland as he gets carried off after an assassination attempt by Paul Rose.
  • The injustice of the penalty try to Hull which looked as if Hobbs was fully committed to the tackle on Lee Crooks.
  • The Hull comeback with a neat try from the dangerous Leuluai and Rovers going seven points down.
  • That sinking feeling that things weren’t going our way as Tex Hudson was sin-binned, and we looked down and out.
  • Cool Steve Quinn slotting a penalty to bring us to within five points and steadying the ship at a dangerous moment.
  • “Get out of my way, son!” David Hobbs hands off Keith Bridges and I couldn’t see anything else for all the jumping up and down.
  • ‘We’ll settle for a draw’ I said to my cousin who looked at me as if I was mad and said back ‘It’s now or never’.
  • The drop-goal winner goes sailing over and we’ve won the Cup, but what’s that?!? The referee rules it out as it was touched in flight.
  • Charlie’s head-butt couldn’t have been more obvious and there’s the blood running down Pete Smith’s cheek.
  • The late penalty, the final hooter, the Cup is lifted, it’s all a blur, some fans are crying and no-one can quite believe it.
  • As we reluctantly leave the stadium some time later, there’s Terry Hudson leaving the ground to get on the team bus with the Cup nonchalantly tucked under one arm and the smile on his face is of a man with a job well done.

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