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

Friday, 10 February 2017

Billy Stott

Billy Stott in the colours of Broughton Rangers
Local youngster Billy Stott got the chance to fill Jimmy Williams’ shoes, and there can be no doubt that if he had stayed at Featherstone for a little longer in his career, he would have gone on to become one of the club’s great players too. Originally signed as a seventeen year old from our own junior set-up, Billy made his debut in March 1930. He had quick feet, good hands, a kicking game and a great step. He was obviously destined to become a very good stand-off indeed. Thrown straight into a struggling first team as a youngster presented no problems for Billy and he stood out as a future star. In his first full season he partnered the veteran Charlie Annable at half-back and managed 10 tries and 22 goals from 37 matches. The following season Rovers tried a new half-back combination with Wilf Evans partnering Billy Hayes. Billy simply slotted into the centres and continued to develop his game there. In the summer of 1933 after another successful season, Featherstone fans wondered how long they could onto the prize asset that Stott had become. Manchester giants Broughton Rangers moved in and offered Rovers a (then) mammoth £750 and our club was in no position to turn down that kind of money. No sooner had he left Featherstone than he was rewarded with his county cap, the first of seven appearances he made for Yorkshire.

Stott served Broughton well but as the 1930s came to a close they too had financial problems of their own and Billy was sold to Oldham to help balance the books. The story of the decline of professional RL in Manchester continued as they moved to Belle Vue, changing their name in the process. By 1955 the club was defunct. Billy continued to offer Oldham good service, and when the war was on he even found time to come back to his hometown team at Featherstone and play three games as a guest in 1940 and a further two more in 1944. Once the war was over, Billy made his final move, nearer home, when he left Oldham for Wakefield. Now in his 30s and after seventeen seasons in the game, Billy was destined to have his finest hour and write his name into the record books forever. Wakefield won through to the first post-war Challenge Cup final and faced Wigan at Wembley. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Stott scored two tries, converted one of them and then landed a dramatic late penalty to win Trinity the Challenge Cup against the odds. He was named man of the match and was awarded the newly inaugurated Lance Todd Trophy. The list of great players who have won that honour since May 1946 is long and glorious, and there at the top is Featherstone born-and-bred Billy Stott.

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