The thirties were a desperate time for Featherstone Rovers, no two ways about it. Despite the impressive conveyor belt of talent continuing to roll out players, this talent was sold on almost as quickly as it was produced. After Wilf Evans and George Johnson were sold, Allen Ward, Ray Hamer, Bill Hughes, George Morgan, Harold Moxon, Nelson Tennant and Cyril Pawson were all tried out at stand-off. When World War Two started, the RFL decided to abandon the Championship and set up a War Emergency League. Some clubs found the going so tough they packed in playing. Each year there were fewer and fewer teams and at the end of the war only 17 clubs were active. Featherstone Rovers found the wherewithal to continue playing right through. The tenacity shown for decades in the face of financial strife had equipped the club well for difficult times. Perhaps Rovers were also lucky in that many players were, of course, coal-miners. Workers in essential services such as mining were not called up as frequently as was the case with other jobs, and so the disruption to the club’s personnel may not have been as great as other clubs. However, a considerable number of Rovers players did serve King and Country and throughout the period the club was regularly having players called-up for service. At least one former player, Matt Killingbeck, lost his life in the six year conflict.
In September 1941 a local lad called Dick Allman made his debut against Keighley and bagged a try in his first game. He followed that with two more in the next game at Halifax and two more in the next at Bramley. If he had kept that rate up, he’d have been Rovers most prolific try scorer ever. As it was, he went on to become a very useful member of the Rovers backline for the next eight years. Originally signed as a centre, Allman played in the three-quarters that first year but the following season he had a run-out at stand-off. By the beginning of the 1943/4 year Dick was installed as first choice stand-off where he shone for the next five seasons, despite missing half a year injured in 1945/6. He made a total 164 games, 113 at stand-off and scored 32 tries. A serious ankle injury finally forced him to quit in 1949. Cyril Gilbertson had been signed from Dewsbury with a view to taking over from Allman, but he had to wait for an extended run in the team. After Dick’s retirement a number of players were tried at six, including Fred Church, Ken Brookes, Bob Jarvis, Stan Shaw and Ray Cording. The latter two both played stand-off in our Wembley year of 1951/2, Shaw in favour before Christmas, and converted winger Cording picked throughout our famous Cup run and in the final itself. The following year Johnny Heritage looked a very promising prospect before injury struck.