Some wingers are speedsters, some are showmen, and some are natural try scorers. Others just pull on the shirt every Sunday afternoon, and go out and get on with the job in an unpretentious way. For a solid decade, Rovers’ wing spot was covered by the very epitome of a ‘good club man’.
There were very few team-sheets printed for a Featherstone match between 1973 and 1983 which didn’t include the name of the ever dependable Ken Kellett. He had joined Rovers in 1970 from the same Fryston juniors club that had also produced his long-time team-mate Paul Coventry, and Ken didn’t have to wait long for his first team debut, against Bradford in November 1970. Although not the biggest player, he had a good side-step and the pace to finish any opportunity that came his way. Once he had claimed the number five shirt as his, Kellett had just two short interruptions to his career over the following eleven years.
In 1973 he played in the Cup final at Wembley, and proof of his longevity was that he was the sole remaining member of that team that was still there by the time Rovers won the Cup again in 1983! Some achievement. After that excellent Wembley campaign had yielded 18 tries in 36 games, Ken had a spell in dispute with the club and missed most of the following year. Up and coming youngsters such as Graham Bray and Dave Dyas took advantage of Kellett’s absence to press their claims for regular wing spots.
In his first year back, Ken topped our try charts with 19, and never looked back. He was an ever-present in the 1977 Championship winning team, claiming 19 tries that year. The following season was the only time he was really dogged by injury and he failed to score all year long. Top try scorer again in our relegation year of 1979, Ken helped the club back into the top flight, adding a second division championship medal to his first division honour. That first year back was Ken Kellett’s benefit year, and in an admirable show of consistency, Ken was once again an ever-present that year, playing all 36 matches.
After a 357 game career, what more appropriate way could there be than to sign off by winning the Challenge Cup at Wembley? Once again, in his final match, Ken’s contribution typified his own career. Professional and unobtrusive, he did what he needed to do in a tidy performance, helping his team to victory and happy for others to take the limelight. His final tally of 124 tries puts him 4th on Rovers’ all-time list.