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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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The Barrow RL foreign legion

AFTER his article on South Africans representing Barrow RL prompted a big response, PADDY McATEER has dug deep in the archives to draw up a team of Craven Park’s foreign stars from down the years. He has chosen – as close to their positions as possible – a strong line-up, while some famous names failed to make the cut for his 18-man squad


FREDDIE French played for Barrow over nine seasons either side of the Second World War, signing in 1936 from Sydeham RUFC after just one trial game.SIGNED from Illawarra Steelers in 1988, Cavil Heugh was one of the best players to sign for the club from Down Under.

He represented Canterbury Province XV, before joining the paid ranks and becoming a brilliant full-back, wearing Barrow’s colours on 200 occasions, scoring five tries and kicking 281 goals for a personal tally of 577 points.

French became the first Barrow player to kick 12 goals in a single match when the Craven Park side defeated amateurs Maryport 83-0 in the first round of the 1937/38 Challenge Cup. He also crossed for one of those five Barrow career tries in that game.

That record of 27 points in a game remained until Welsh golden boy Keith Jarrett added one more for 28 against Doncaster in 1970.

French played an important role in that 1937/38 season, when Barrow finished third in the table and were runners-up in the Lancashire and Challenge Cup finals.


HARD-RUNNING winger Des Drummond played just 11 times for Barrow in the 1997 season, before bringing an end to his great career, which spanned 21 years and included 24 Great Britain caps. He also toured Australia with the GB squad in 1984.

Drummond, who was 39 when he called time on his playing days, scored one of the best ever tries at Barrow – but it was in the colours of Leigh, when he mesmerised several defenders to touch down.


RON O’Regan spent two seasons with Barrow between 1981 and 1983, signing from the City Newton Club.

Not to be confused with the then-US President Ronald Reagan, his first and last games for the club were both against Wigan – who were also after his signature – at Craven Park.

O’Regan came to town as an unknown, but after returning to New Zealand he became a star, making the full international side as vice-captain.

In his spell with Barrow he was a big favourite with the fans and in 45 appearances he scored 13 tries.


CLIFF Beverley was a player who took time to settle in Barrow after joining the club from the New Zealand Warriors in 2001.

He had just one season before being lured to Salford, but before that he made 31 appearances, scoring 25 tries.

Beverley started as a stand-off before moving to the centres with great success and catching the eye of the Super League club.


TIM Dwyer was a Craven Park favourite and one for the girls with his film-star good looks.

Dwyer had two spells with Barrow in 1985/86 and again in 1988, playing 21 games and scoring 12 tries and 29 goals.

He signed from Brisbane Brothers, coming to the club alongside Greg Smith, Dave Brown and Tony Elliott.

He could kick goals for fun and had a boot that was as good as Keith Jarrett’s.


STEVE Martin came to Barrow as an unknown in 1975/76, returning two years later as a full Australian tourist.

Martin is the son-in-law of former Barrow great Phil Jackson and, though he made only 19 appearances for Barrow before breaking his leg, he made an immediate impact.

He made a try-scoring debut in a 15-0 home win over Blackpool – his one and only try for the club – but played a big part in Barrow clinching the second division championship.

He gained one Test appearance and represented New South Wales, touring New Zeland before having a one-year stint with Leeds. He then coached Featherstone before returning Down Under in 1994.


SIGNED from Eastern Suburbs in 1986, Kevin Hastings’ arrival was a coup for the club as he was rated one of the best players never to represent Australia, despite shining for New South Wales.

He won the Rothmans medal in 1981 as Australia’s best player and was Rugby League Week’s player-of-the-year for the 1981, 1982 and 1983 seasons, also landing the Dally Messenger medal as best half-back in the competition. He played 23 times for Barrow, scoring one try and two drop goals before returning Down Under. He was a class act and a brilliant footballer.


ONE of Australia’s top forwards – both at home and in England – Harry Bath came to Barrow from Balmain in 1947 as a 23-year-old with a big reputation.

He could not settle in Barrow and after 19 appearances and three tries, moved on to become a bigger star with Warrington, amassing 363 points in one season.

He returned Down Under and won many honours. He also played for New South Wales against the Great Britain 1946 Indomitables, which included several Barrow players.


DARREN HOLT signed from Carlisle Border Raiders in 1998 and is now back for his third spell, this time as player/coach.

Holt is one of a select few to play for all four Cumbria clubs (Workington, Whitehaven, Carlisle and Barrow). He has a remarkable record with Barrow, making 283 appearances, scoring 65 tries and 1,017 goals for a points tally of 2,234.

He has broken all the goal-kicking records for Barrow and was just two points short of equalling Ian Ball’s points in a season record of 305 in 2007.


A powerful runner and strong tackler, he stayed for only two seasons, scoring 17 tries.

He moved to Leeds, but not before helping the club gain promotion under coach Rod Reddy.


DAVE Brown came to Barrow in 1995 from Manly Sea Eagles and made just 18 appearances, scoring 10 tries, before moving to Hull and then returning Down Under.

Brown was a big capture for Barrow, having gained five Test caps and represented Queensland on 10 occasions.


ONE of the biggest-name signings for the Barrow club, Rod Reddy is an Australian legend.

He was 33 when he arrived in town in 1987. Known as the Rockhampton Rocket, he played 17 times, scoring two tries before retiring to become club coach. That role did not last long before he was shown the door at Craven Park.

Reddy won a Grand Final medal with St George and represented both Queensland and New South Wales, as well as his country on 17 occasions. He toured Great Britain in 1978 and was part of the untouchable 1982 side.


ANTHONY Singleton came to Barrow in 1983 and was an immediate hit with the fans, playing 30 times and scoring 11 tries.

A knee injury plagued his time with Manly, but he hit top form with Barrow and was a sound tackler.


A FINE attacking full-back, Khamal Ganley signed from Workington in 2006 and had two seasons before returning home. In his brief stay, he set Craven Park alight, scoring 27 tries in 39 outings.


TONY Elliott came to Barrow as an unknown in 1985 from the Caloundra club and went home a star performer. He played 30 times and scored two tries.

Elliott came over with Dave Brown, Greg Smith and Tim Dwyer and was a fine all-round forward and a straight runner.


NICK Du Toit signed from Wigan in 1986, spending three seasons at Craven Park. Another firm favourite with the fans, he scored 10 tries in 45 appearances.


DAVE Armitstead spent two years with Barrow from 2007 and proved a sound player, scoring eight tries – all in his second season – in 67 appearances.

A real workhorse, he failed to score in his first campaign of 34 games, a run which ended the following year at Blackpool in the Northern Rail Cup.

He was named Championship player-of-the-year in 2008.


CHRIS Johns’s stay at Barrow was short and sweet, signing from Brisbane Broncos and making just 11 appearances – crossing for three tries in 1989/90 – before returning to the Australian club.

Like O’Regan, he was to make a quick return to the British Isles with the 1990 Australian tourists and again in 1992, when he was in the team that beat Great Britain in the World Cup final at Wembley.

He is noted for scoring two of his three tries when Barrow won their only game of the 1989 campaign at Featherstone, 29-22.

Have your say

Well done to the historian who put together the Best International Barrow squad. I read it with interest and was surprised to see Kevin Hastings had played for Barrow as I played against him in junior league in the 70's in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Posted by Peter Farrugia on 12 October 2012 at 13:53

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