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

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Arthur Wood

Arthur Wood
As the Second World War came to an end, Rovers were looking to lift themselves out of the doldrums they were in throughout the 1930s. In order to do this, they would rely, as they always had, on the emergence of quality local players.

          Three such players were Herbert Nash, Walt Garner and Lister Mogg who all filled in at hooker for varying spells in the immediate post-war period. Then in late 1947 Rovers picked up a youngster from Streethouse who went on to become an England international. Taller than average for a hooker, with curly ginger hair and a distinctive running style, Arthur Wood stood out on the field for his hard work in defence and also in the loose. These are admirable attributes in any player, but the hooker’s job was to get the ball from the scrum and in that area Wood excelled too.

Before long he won his county cap for Yorkshire against Lancashire in 1950. One possibly unique occurrence took place in a home match against Keighley. Wood was sent off early in the game, showered and changed, and with nothing better to do, he caught a bus to Leeds where the Rovers A team were playing later that same afternoon and played for them! When he wasn’t getting sent off, his form was such that he started to be talked about as a potential international and that inevitably sent bigger clubs sniffing round to try and tempt him away.

Continuously good performances won him an appearance for England against Other Nationalities (the old style “Exiles” team) in April 1951. He became the first Rovers player to be capped by his country since three-quarter Tommy Askin had played for Great Britain in Australia in 1928. Unfortunately, Arthur’s days as a Rovers player were numbered. Within a month, Leeds had stepped in with a record £3,000 offer, the highest fee the club had ever received for a player, and Wood was off to Headingley. He had played 105 games for Featherstone Rovers over four seasons. One of the first problems he had at his new club was their strict rule of all the players turning up to matches in a collar and tie. Arthur Wood had neither and had to spend part of his first wage packet on said items.

Whilst he was at Leeds Wood won more county honours with Yorkshire but no more international caps. Rovers had been reluctant to let Wood go, but, as ever, the money came in handy. Those ‘in the know’ at the club also realised they had a very promising young hooker coming through the intermediates by the name of Willis Fawley and perhaps the loss of Wood wouldn’t be too keenly felt.

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