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

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Jon Sharp and Tim Sharp

Jon Sharp played his junior rugby at that prodigious breeding ground Travellers’ Saints, but on turning professional in 1984 opted for Hull rather than his hometown Featherstone. He was destined to make his debut at Post Office Road anyway, when he came off the bench for Hull against Rovers in December 1984, a game Featherstone won 20-4. Jon established himself as a first team regular at loose forward under a variety of coaches at Hull, including Brian Smith who had a big influence on his career. He played in the 1989 (after beating Rovers in the semi-final) and 1991 Premiership finals, having previously played in the 1986 Yorkshire Cup final. After enjoying a benefit year in 1994/5 he left Hull and finally came home to Featherstone, making his debut on the opening day of the Centenary season at, ironically enough, Hull. Rovers triumphed that day 26-20. By the end of the first summer season in 1996 he had made 27 first team appearances, a steadying influence in the second-row at a time of great flux in the Rovers team. He then retired to concentrate on coaching, and Rovers gave him his first break as the Under-18 coach. He later assistant coach at St. Helens and head coach at Huddersfield. He then came back to Featherstone as coaching advisor to Danny Evans at the end of the 2008 season following David Hobbs’ departure.

By the time Jon signed for Rovers, his younger brother Tim had already moved on, having given Rovers four years service at half-back. Tim Sharp played as a youngster in the 1981 curtain raiser at Wembley for Featherstone & Castleford schools alongside future Rovers Neil Roebuck, Jason Sims and Mark Webster. He signed for Featherstone in 1987, and made his debut in January 1989 at Halifax after a steady apprenticeship in the A team. He alternated between stand-off partner to Deryck Fox and deputy full-back to Chris Bibb in his first two seasons. To establish himself in the first team Tim had to adapt his natural distributing and kicking game, a role customarily filled by Fox. Despite this, he went on to play a total of 91 games, scored 15 tries and kicked 6 goals. To illustrate his versatility those 91 games consisted of 5 games from full-back, 25 at stand-off, just 7 games in his natural scrum-half position, 13 at loose forward and even a game at hooker, as well as 30 games off the bench. He faced his older brother on the field a number of times, the first time being in November 1990 when Rovers beat Hull 14-6.Tim Sharp left for York in the summer of 1993, perhaps disappointed that he didn’t inherit the number seven shirt following Fox’s departure to Bradford, and later played for Hunslet.

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