Graham Paul Calls It A Day

23
May
Category: Heritage

Graham Paul Calls It A Day

On this day ….. 23 May

Fifty-six years ago today, on 23 May 1964, Cornish wingman Graham Paul, made his final appearance for the Robins in the final match of the season, a 22-17 win over Widnes at Craven Park. Rovers played the Chemics three times that May – in the Challenge Cup final on the 8th, ten days later in a league game at Widnes, and in the return league game five days later. This was Rovers only win of the three, and it came in an end-to-end game in which Paul scored two tries.

Born in 1934, Paul was an outstanding schoolboy athlete, who quickly rose to prominence at the Penzance-Newlyn club as a pacey fly-half. He represented both Cornwall and the RAF before Rovers persuaded him to try his luck in rugby league in November 1958, at the age of 24. He made his debut for Rovers at stand-off half on Boxing Day 1958, and for his first three seasons he alternated between wing and off-half, before settling on the wing in his last two seasons.

The ‘Cornish Express’, as he was known to Rovers’ fans, was the club’s top try-scorer in three seasons and an ever-present in two. In 1962/63, he set a new post-war club record of 34 tries for the season, becoming in the process the first Rovers’ player to score tries in ten consecutive club matches. Many of his tries were finished with a trademark dive, in which he took off several yards from the line.

One of the best wingers Rovers have had, it was something of a surprise when he retired at the comparatively early age of 29, but he wanted to go out at the top. He and his family returned to Penzance, where he and his wife ran the Sportsman’s Arms for 21 years. When eventually the RFU relaxed their regulations on professionalism, Paul returned to his old club, now the Cornish Pirates, initially as a coach with the juniors and then as groundsman. He continues to live in the Penzance area.

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