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

Monday, 23 October 2017

Terry Clawson

Terry Clawson
It was always going to take a very special kind of player to dislodge the legendary Cliff Lambert from the number thirteen jersey at Featherstone. However, local youngster Terry Clawson did just that. He started his Rovers career in 1957 and, although a very different type of player to Lambert, Terry established a reputation as an all-action, no-nonsense loose forward. Never afraid to take the ball to the line, Terry also displayed the hallmark skill of a good back-rower, the ability to handle the ball well. He also had a strong kicking game.

Clawson was a fixture in the Rovers team for five years, showing great consistency and fitness, and he turned into a regular points machine. In those five seasons his points returns showed 136, 256 (a new club record), 185, 263 (breaking his own record), and 188. Soon enough, his tough tackling and prodigious goal-kicking caught the attention of the international selectors. He made his Great Britain debut aged 21 against France in 1962, but within twelve months suffered a serious threat to his life when he contracted tuberculosis. He was sent to a sanitorium for a number of months to recuperate. When he came out he had lost a lot of weight and was in no shape for professional rugby.

However, after a full season out of the game, he bounced back and regained his place in the Rovers first team. He found form but failed to settle and within a few months had been sold to Bradford Northern. He stayed at Odsal for three years before moving on again. Thus began a nomadic journey through a wide variety of clubs which included Hull KR, Oldham, York and Wakefield before finishing at Hull FC in 1980. He even managed a spell as player-coach in South Newcastle, New South Wales. He won a total of 14 GB caps and kicked two goals in a famous British triumph in the 1972 World Cup final. He was also a Great Britain tourist in 1974.

Towards the end of his career Terry came back to Featherstone and had a spell as Rovers’ player-coach in 1978. When he selected both himself and his son Neil for a match at Workington in November 1978 they created possibly a unique moment in rugby league history of a father and son playing on the same side together. However, Rovers lost and it was Clawson’s last match in charge. During his swansong, he added to his impressive points and goals tallies. His record of 483 goals for Rovers in 215 games puts him seventh on Rovers all-time goal kicking list. His famous sense of humour and streetwise philosophy shone through his very entertaining autobiography, “All the Wrong Moves”.

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