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

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Paul Lyman

Featherstone's loose forward at Wembley in 1983 was Peter Smith, who offered yet another wonderful exhibition of loose forward play on the biggest stage, a master of his craft. Paul Lyman was a just fresh faced seventeen year old, used as a first half substitute in the centres that afternoon after John Gilbert’s injury. The young apprentice would quickly learn from the master though.

Paul Lyman
Within a couple of years of that fairy-tale start to his career, Lyman was good enough to fill Smith’s boots at loose forward for Featherstone Rovers. He went on to become one of the most talented players that the club produced in the 1980s. Like many promising youngsters, his pedigree in the game was impeccable. Both his father Barry and his grandfather Ray had played for Featherstone. Paul signed for his hometown club on his 17th birthday in 1982, but he could have hardly dreamed about how quickly his career would take off. That Wembley final was only his tenth game for the club.
Paul’s career developed in the ensuing seasons, as Rovers, with Smith suffering from a long-term injury, searched for new back-row talent. In his first full season he was limited to 16 games, just seven of which were at loose forward. This was due to Terry Hudson switching from scrum-half to the back of the scrum. But the following year, Lyman gradually took over from Hudson and made the number thirteen jersey his own. Paul had his own unique style, ideally suited to the duties of a loose forward. He was a strong runner, especially onto Deryck Fox’s passes, he could break the line regularly with his strength and his side-step. He was also blessed with sufficient pace to finish many of those breaks himself. On defence, he was a copybook cover tackler. He won county honours as a substitute in 1985, and the following year he marked his full Yorkshire debut with a trademark try against Lancashire.
One of his finest matches was a Cup game against Widnes when, despite some fearful punishment from a bruising Widnes pack, he scored a magnificent hatrick in an honourable defeat. At the end of that season he scored the all-important match-equalling try as Rovers stayed up in a heroic performance against Champions-elect Halifax. 
In the autumn of 1986 he was selected for the Great Britain squad to play the touring Kangaroos, but bafflingly he was discarded without getting a chance to show his skills. Unfortunately, that was the closest he came to full international honours after having won Under 21 caps earlier. Undeterred, Paul continued to score consistently over the next two years, including 17 tries in our promotion year of 1988.
From then on he was troubled by a persistent knee injury, and in the end it was good business for Featherstone that saw him transfer to Hull KR in exchange for a hefty fee and Chris Burton in 1989. He gave Hull KR good service over four seasons playing 99 games. For Featherstone, Paul Lyman played a total of 159 games and scored 62 tries.

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