A glance at the modern day Dewsbury Rams badge will tell you the dilemma that doing a feature on the guys who have filled our thirteen starting shirts entails- 1898 is the year that it all started!
So many characters have worn those red, amber & black hoops and I have found myself walking around a store or waking up in the wee small hours thinking, ‘Oh dear, how did I forget to mention him!!!! ‘
One thing that helps is the versatility factor, like centres and wingers it is likely that prop forwards have alternated between the 8 and 10 shirts.
So many guys who play in the front row become cult figures & one such guy was Keith Mason. Definitely a cult figure for the Dewsbury fans who frequented the much loved Long Stand at Crown Flatt .
The fact he was local and known by everyone helped his popularity.
Haling from Earlsheaton and playing his amateur rugby for Dewsbury Moor made his progression to Crown Flatt inevitable. Keith relished the physical side of the game and loved the battle against fellow hardmen!
He played for Hunslet after leaving Dewsbury in the days when Hunslet played at the Elland Road home of Leeds United. Hunslet had some memorable victories in the days when Keith wore the myrtle, white and flame.
He was an incredible character and I briefly had the pleasure of working with him at a carpet factory in Wakefield, there was never a dull moment when Keith was around, he used to say the greatest two legends to grace Elland Road were Eric Cantona and himself!
His son Keith Mason Junior has since gone on to have a superb career in Rugby League and acting.
The first occupant of the No 10 shirt I recall was Trevor ‘Dick’ Lowe. Before I started going to games I used to follow the Dewsbury results in my Dad’s sunday newspaper and I used to say to him that Lowe must be a good player because he scores every week for Dewsbury. I was too young to realise that goalkickers usually do score every week!
When I got to games I loved watching his straight on toe end style that sent the ball between the posts. Like so many of his era he joined Dewsbury in 1962 from Shaw Cross and played in our Challenge Cup semi final teams of 1966 and 1967. He finally earned glory as a member of our 1973 Championship winning team.
He was a police constable in his day job.
An interesting character from the past appears to be George Banks who actually played against Dewsbury for Wigan in the 1947 Championship final at Maine Road, Manchester. In the previous season he had also featured in a Championship winning Wigan team against Huddersfield at the same venue. He also featured in 4 Lancashire cup finals for the cherry and whites.
He was born in Castleford but turned professional with Huddersfield before joining Dewsbury in 1931, he made 115 appearances for our club before moving to newly formed London club Streatham and Mitcham.
Back to local cult figures and you cannot forget Shayne Williams. Absolutely larger than life character, a big lad who burst many an opposition defensive line .
I recall having a quick drink in the Time Piece one day last year and recognising Shayne as he sat on a bar stool telling entertaining tales. Shayne is uncle to our current player James Thornton.
Wearing the number 10 shirt in our last ever game at Crown Flatt was Gary Cocks.
Gary was a workaholic hard tackling and running prop.
Another hard grafting player was Mark Haigh, another local lad from the success drenched Neil Kelly era of the late nineties/2000 team. Mark is the son of ex Leeds, Wakefield , Bradford and Great Britain star Bob Haigh.
We seem to have had a lot of homegrown players in this position and if we go back through the decades again we find Donald Hatfield. Born in Dewsbury and played for Dewsbury Juniors but initially turned professional with Halifax before moving to his hometown club. Donald spent two years with Dewsbury before moving the short distance to Hunslet. He played for Hunslet in their 1959 Championship final defeat to St Helens at Odsal, a game watched by 52,560.
In relatively recent times we have seen Tommy Gallagher wear the shirt whilst going back to the Jack Addy/Norman Smith years we had Paul Worthy who never let us down.
Current incumbent is
Tom Garratt, Tom came to us from National Conference League club Siddal in 2019 and made a massive impression.
His first foray into professional rugby and he won us all over with his fantastic displays.
Every single Rams fan would dearly love to see the big fella bag at the Tetleys Stadium next season.