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

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Percy Morris

We can safely say that the 1930s were easily the worst decade in the history of Featherstone Rovers. As a global economic depression wreaked havoc on the local job market, the club staggered along virtually penniless from season to season, selling any and every available player for whatever transfer money they could raise in order to survive.

However, what kept the club in existence was its incredible production line of serviceable players who stepped up to first team football and made a name for themselves as soon as a ‘star’ player was sold. For Featherstone Rovers, the emergence of Percy Morris was a godsend. Every so often, one of those incredibly durable players who never seem to miss a match or get injured comes along. Percy was one of those players. Not only was he hard-wearing, but he also offered consistently high levels of possession- winning from the scrum and his fair share of tackling in the loose.

Originally from Knottingley, Percy made his debut on the opening day of the season in 1929/30. The hooker’s jersey was his and it was well over two years before anyone else got their hands on it. Percy played all 39 games in his debut year and all 41 games the next year. When he finally missed a game in October 1931 it was only because he had won county selection and was playing for Yorkshire. His consecutive appearance record stood at 88 straight matches. He went on to play every other game that year. The following season was only interrupted by a rare four match suspension having been sent off and he represented Yorkshire again that year.

Inevitably, the harsh realities of Rovers’ precarious economic situation bit again and Percy Morris was sold to Halifax. Useful utility forwards Luke Morgan and George Taylor took over the hooking role, but by Christmas 1934 Percy Morris was back at his local club and back in the number nine shirt. By then his old front row partner Ernie Barraclough had retired and he had a new open side prop to help him out in the scrums in the shape of Frank Hemmingway. Of course, Percy played every game that year and all 41 games the next. He played in fact 66 games straight after re-singing, short of his original run but still impressive. His record stood for decades until Matt Bramald broke it with 98 straight games between 1999 and 2001, and then Liam Finn took the record with 116 on the trot between 2010 and 2013.

Percy Morris’ final year was 1936/37 and when he quit in January 1937 he had played 209 out of 214 Featherstone Rovers matches with four games missed for suspension and one for county selection. What an incredible achievement of consistency and durability.

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