TRIBUTES have been paid to a Leigh rugby league stalwart whose involvement with the Miners Rangers spanned more than 40 years.
Bob Dowling, known to his family as Robert, died last Friday at the age of 71 following a long illness.
He joined the Twist Lane outfit in 1968 and played at hooker for the club, turning out in one of its most memorable matches against Warrington in the Challenge Cup, when Miners led 12-7 before losing 16-12. He also played for Great Britain Amateurs on a tour to France and represented Lancashire.
Following his playing career he carried out a huge variety of off-field roles, including a long stint as club secretary, and was elected to the Miners Rangers’ hall of fame in 2011.
John Cooke, who played alongside him, said: “He was a tough player and an honest lad who was really well respected and liked. He wouldn’t back down to anyone.
“People have been stopping me in Leigh and saying they can’t believe he’s gone.”
Bob was brought up on Plank Lane with his twin brother Paul, attending Leigh Secondary Modern before working as a power loom overlooker in two mills. He later drove industrial vehicles at Plank Lane Colliery. Away from the rugby field he enjoyed horse racing, holidays in Ireland and spending time on an allotment he kept with Paul.
Rugby league officials and players offered messages of support and shared memories on social media website Twitter following the news of Bob’s death.
He is survived by his wife Valerie, his son Anthony and his two grandchildren.