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

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Ian Tonks & Tony Tonks

Such was the consistency of Stuart Dickens that he went through many front-row partners during his Rovers career. Just look at this list and see how many of these names you can remember:

1998: Chico Jackson, Mickey Clarkson.
1999: Hitro Okesene.
2000: Maea David.
2001: Gary Lord, Craig Booth, Gavin Morgan.
2002: Ian Tonks, Jimmy Carlton, Robin Jowitt.
2003: Chris Molyneux.
2004: Andy Jarrett.
2005: Nathan Sykes.
2007: Gareth Handford.
2008: Tony Tonks, Sean Hesketh, James Houston.
2010: Iain Morrison, Ross Divorty.
2011: Michael Haley.
2012: Anthony England.

Two players on that list who share a surname although they are not related are Ian and Tony Tonks. Between them both players starred in the Featherstone front-row for ten seasons offering uncompromising graft and whole-hearted endeavour. Unsurprisingly, both players won the affection of the Rovers faithful.

Ian Tonks began his career with hometown Castleford in 1993 where he played for nine years, making a total of 82 super league appearances. He signed for Rovers at the start of the 2002 season and slotted into a front row alongside Dickens, Craig Booth and hooker Richard Chapman. After Chapman’s departure, Ian was appointed club captain by coach Gary Price. After six full seasons in the first team Ian played very briefly in the same side as Tony Tonks at the start of 2008 before retiring. He made a total of 172 appearances, 131 as starting prop, and scored 12 tries.

Before the start of 2008 Rovers picked up another promising front rower called Tonks. Tony’s career had started at Bradford before playing at Doncaster and Oldham from whence Rovers signed him. Distantly related to our famous prop of the 1960s Les Tonks, Tony  soon established himself with his strong running and enthusiasm. He played in the 2010 and 2011 Championship finals, managing a total of 105 games over four seasons, including 81 as starting prop. He also scored a healthy 18 tries in that time. He then signed for super league side Huddersfield Giants but had no luck with injuries, breaking his arm early in his Giants career. He is now of course back in the Championship at Halifax, and will be at Sheffield next year.

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