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

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Malcom Dixon

After the retirement of stalwart Kenny Welburn, Featherstone Rovers continued to rely on their local junior network for new front-row players. Players such as Irishman John Daly and Welshman Wyn Jones were very much the exception to the rule as far as recruitment was concerned. Jones, signed from Bradford, gave very good service to Featherstone playing 86 games between 1956 and 1960 after initially struggling to fit into the side, but local men such as Frank Moore and Joe Anderson were also important figures. Norman Hockley was another good club man who had played mostly as a second-rower, but who also propped at the latter end of his seven year career. Around this time too another local youngster called Malcolm Dixon was just starting to make his way. St. Helens then became the unlikely source to sign two prop forwards. Len Hammill was a Yorkshire born player who had made his name at Knowsley Road before heading back over the Pennines to Featherstone in 1960. Over the next three seasons he endeared himself to the fans with his tremendous work-rate and played 94 games before retiring. Then came Abe Terry, also from St. Helens, another solid worker who appeared in 51 games between 1962 and 1965. 

Mal Dixon made his debut in 1957, but it took him a couple of seasons to establish himself as a first choice regular. Once he had done that, he was one of the first names on the teamsheet throughout the sixties, clocking up a total of 317 games. As a big man, his strength and weight were used to good effect in the scrum, and he had a surprising turn of speed for such a bulky player in the loose. More than that though, Malcolm was a natural leader of men. His calm authority made him an automatic choice as club captain when Don Fox left the club in 1965. Of course, his proudest moment came when the fulfilled every schoolboy’s dream of lifting the Challenge Cup at Wembley. The fact that Queen Elizabeth II had turned up especially to do the honours once she heard Featherstone Rovers were playing made it even more memorable. Moments such as those made any number of injury setbacks easier to handle, but a set of broken ribs looked likely to have finished Dixon’s career in 1971. He was released and joined York where he spent three seasons before returning to his hometown to help Rovers out of an injury crisis in 1974. It was the final farewell of a tremendous career.

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