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

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Oliver Darlison and Vic Darlison

Oliver Darlison was an uncompromising back-row forward who signed for Rovers in 1929, making his debut at home to Keighley in April 1929. In only his fourth senior game he took part in a memorable rout of Bradford Northern when Jack Hirst set a try scoring record for Rovers. The following year Darlison established himself in the first team, where he was a permanent fixture for four seasons until Rovers’ desperate financial situation forced him to be sold to Huddersfield. He made a total of 120 senior games for Featherstone, scoring eleven tries and kicking two goals, and formed part of a generation of locally produced talent that was sorely missed after being sold to rival clubs.

His younger brother Vic was give his first run out with the Rovers at loose forward towards the end of another poor year in 1935/36, when Rovers policy of selling players to survive really took a toll on the playing field. Vic Darlison was a hooker and though it appeared that Percy Morris had a mortgage on the number nine shirt it wasn’t long before young Darlison had ousted the old-timer and made it his. His Rovers career was all too brief spanning just 51 games, before being sold at the beginning of 1938/39. He went on to have a huge impact at Bradford Northern who were building a formidable team. They reached the war-time cup finals of 1944 and 1945 where Vic Darlison played alongside the likes of Eric Batten, Ernest Ward and prop Frank Whitcombe, all internationals. Vic had time in February 1945 to pop back to Featherstone to play a cheeky game for Rovers as a war-time guest player. He brought his mate Eric Batten with him who played on the wing and scored a try as Rovers beat Huddersfield 14-7. Well done lads! Two months later they were both running out for Bradford in the Cup final against Huddersfield, who had the last laugh and beat them. The seeds were sown then in 1944 for Eric Batten to come back to Featherstone more permanently after the war. Vic Darlison (and Eric) went to Wembley with the same Bradford team three years running from 1947 to 1949, where they were accompanied by another Featherstone born player Bill Leake, the Bradford fullback of the 1948 and 1949 finals. Five cup finals in all then for Darlison and three winners medals. After retiring, Vic kept in touch with his adopted club and was one of the former players on stage alongside Trevor Foster the night of an emotional meeting in March 1964 when Bradford Northern reformed after going bankrupt.

No comments:

Post a Comment