Featherstone Rovers News
The Featherstone Rovers are a professional Rugby League team based in the former mining town of Featherstone, which is located between city of Wakefield and the town of Castleford in one of the sport key hotbeds.
The town and wider Wakefield metropolitan district is awash with amateur and junior sides that help to feed players into the club, which has in turn allowed them to punch far above their weight as a town of under 20,000 inhabitants in a sport increasingly dominated by big cities and large towns.
The club are instantly recognisable whenever they take to the field thanks to their iconic blue and white hooped playing strip.
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Although the Fev ground has undergone a lot of changes over the last decade or so and it has had about as many names as fans through the gate, it will be forever known to the majority of fans simply as Post Office Road.
Nowadays the ground is a mixture of seating areas and standing terraces that have been cobbled together from many different sources to create a modern yet historic ground capable of hosting just under 10,000 fans when full.
The club are located in the Wakefield Metropolitan District, about halfway between Wakefield and Castleford in the former mining town of Featherstone but they capture support from across the district, from the nearby town of Pontefract and also from South Yorkshire.
Featherstone are one of the most historic Rugby League clubs in the world and have won titles and trophies on both the national and regional level including a league championship and numerous Challenge Cup trophies.
Nowadays, the club club are seen as one of the most traditional clubs fitting of their ‘Flat Cappers’ nickname.
Rugby in the town started life in 1889 but despite that been after the great code schism, they started life as Featherstone Trinity RUFC- a Rugby Union club.
Trinity’s first ever match took placed against local rivals Castleford Mill Lane Rovers and quickly became a strong side with most other clubs in the region playing the new Northern Union code of the sport.
It didn’t take long for them to make the move to the new code after they voted to join the new code in 1898 and dropped Trinity from their name but things didn’t work out and the first Rugby League side in the town folded in 1902.
Later in the same year, a meeting was held and a new club, named Featherstone Rovers, was formed, and joined the Northern union in 1907 and originally played at the Featherstone Main Colliery Welfare Ground and took their place in a number of local and regional competitions.
With the war years devastating so many clubs, it actually saw the club flourish with so many of their players been miners who stayed in the region and with the club been called up to the senior leagues, although Fev only lasted 1 season in the top flight originally.
At the end of the war, Fev made the step up to be a semi-pro side and beat Bradford Northern in their first match as a senior club, with their first ever match at Post Office Road attracting around 4,000 fans during the same period.
After the 2nd World War, things were a struggle for the club but by the 1950’s they were starting to establish themselves as a competitive side which included there first ever trip to Wembley Stadium in a losing effort to Workington Town.
That match was notable as it was the first to be televised live.
The 1970’s would go onto be the ‘Golden Era’ of the Rovers as they won the 1973 Challenge Cup final and would go onto pick up their first ever national league championship, when they won the Division One championship by finishing 5 points clear of Saints.
The clubs last national piece silverware came in 1983 when they headed to Wembley and defeated Hull FC in front of a crowd of just under 85,000 fans.
The miners strikes of the 1980’s saw the clubs finances struggle and that led to the club having to sell top stars such as David Hobbs.
That then led to a dip in form and continuing struggles on the pitch which came at just the wrong time as with the advent of the new ‘Summer Era’ seeing the formation of a new top flight, Fev were not chosen for a place in the new top division after refusing a merger with arch rivals Wakefield and Castleford.
The new era of the sport has seen the club enjoy periods of success in the 2nd tier and also periods where they were simply trying to survive, with the finances all over the place as they look to keep up with bigger and better funded clubs.
In the mid 2000’s, the clubs finances saw them drop down to the third tier but they soon made it back to the 2nd tier where they have come close to promotion on a couple of occasions including Million Pound game losses to Toronto and Toulouse.
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