More than a few eyebrows were raised when, in the summer of 1983, the newly crowned Cup holders moved into the transfer market to fill the hole caused by a career-threatening injury to Ray Handscombe by signing veteran Castleford hooker Bob Spurr. We could have been excused for thinking that this would be nothing more than a stop-gap buy, but how wrong we were. He had had a long and successful career at our rivals, playing over 320 games and enjoying a benefit year. Bob then made his Rovers debut against his old club Castleford on 21st August 1983, and began an unbroken run in the number nine shirt that lasted until November 1984. He appeared in every single game in his first season, and his trademark ten yard dash from acting half-back and his tireless tackling soon became a feature. He played in 98 of Rovers 105 fixtures from 1983 to 1986. His total number of 108 appearances (5 off the bench) was testimony to his fitness and durability. He also managed to score 14 tries. His final game was at Fulham in October 1987.
Bob then moved to Bradford for a short time, where his retired after just two appearances. He then began coaching at local amateur level, and also Rovers’ own Academy team. It was from that team that his son Chris emerged through the ranks. Chris Spurr made his first team debut off the bench on 3rd October 1998 in France. That same game against Limoux in the Treize Tournoi saw the debut of Jamie Rooney. Chris’s first full game was on the wing in the return fixture against Limoux, an occasion he marked with two tries in a big 54-10 win. It wasn’t until 2002 however that Chris finally established himself in the first team, making one of the centre spots his own. At the end of that season he was surprisingly released. He moved on to Batley, York, and finally Doncaster where he has been for a number of years. He played a career total of 47 games for Featherstone, including nine as a sub, and managed a very reasonable 21 tries in that time.
Although he never played for Featherstone, Bob’s younger son Mark has also played rugby professionally at Castleford, and won representative honours at student level.