Carl Dooler: Scrum-half whose skills took Featherstone to victory in the 1967 Challenge Cup final

The former mining village of Sharlston, tucked between Wakefield and Featherstone, is a rugby league hotbed that makes others look tepid by comparison.

The tiny community and its 125-year-old amateur club have produced a steady stream of players who have thrived in the professional game, including one of its first real superstars, Jonty Parkin, and, quite remarkably, three winners of the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley. Two of them were the Fox brothers, Neil and Don. The third was Carl Dooler.

That was in 1967, when Dooler was the scrum-half in the Featherstone Rovers side that won the Cup for the first time – itself a major achievement for an overgrown village. Featherstone had lost there to Workington Town in 1952 and had been to five semi-finals since. In 1967, they beat Bradford, Wakefield, Castleford and Leeds to set up a final against the favourites, Barrow.

Dooler emerged as the key figure that day at Wembley. Rovers were trailing 7-2 when his clever pass sent Arnie Morgan in for a try. Just after the half-hour, he put over a drop-goal that gave them a lead they were never to lose. In the second half, he secured victory with a break from dummy half that took him past two defenders, before turning the ball inside for Tommy Smales to score and for Featherstone eventually to win 17-12.

Dooler had been clearly the best player on the pitch. Tom Ashcroft wrote in The Rugby Leaguer that "Dooler first fulfilled the scrum-half's main function by keeping the back-line on the move. He had his flashes of inspiration with the drop-goal and the making of a try and when his side was in control he turned to the unorthodox with some clever back-flip passes."

Dooler had joined Featherstone – from Sharlston Rovers, naturally – in 1960, but found his early first-team opportunities limited by Don Fox's grip on the scrum-half shirt. Despite that he was selected for Yorkshire in 1962 after only 16 senior games, when Fox was injured. He had good games against both Cumberland and Lancashire, leaving Rovers with an embarrassment of riches in the position. The problem was resolved when Fox moved to loose-forward, leaving Dooler as first-choice scrum-half until 1968.

Apart from his great day at Wembley, his tenure included a Yorkshire Cup final, in which he was sent off and later exonerated, too late to save Rovers from defeat by Hull KR.

In 1966, his form was good enough to earn him a place on the Great Britain tour to Australia and New Zealand. He played 15 matches and scored five tries, but the sparkling form of Tommy Bishop kept him out of the Test team; the closest he came to playing for his country was as an unused substitute in Auckland.

Two years later, he was transfer-listed by Featherstone after a dispute and, after 199 games and 62 tries, sold to Hull KR for £6,500. A back injury forced him to retire at the end of that season, but he made a surprise comeback with York in 1973 and played a handful of games with Batley the following year.

He later settled in the North-east, where he worked as a rigger, but his previous jobs had, almost inevitably, included working at the pit in Sharlston, the village where he is remembered as one of the great carriers of a proud rugby league tradition.

Carl Dooler, rugby league footballer: born Sharlston, Yorkshire 30 March 1943; twice married (one son, one daughter); died North Shields, Tyne and Wear 29 July 2010.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
News
people
Travel
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Primary Supply teaching jobs in Stowmarket

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: The Job An inner city Birmingham sc...

Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments