Tommy Bishop

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Tommy Bishop
Personal information
Born (1940-10-15) 15 October 1940 (age 73)
St. Helens, Lancashire, England, UK
Playing information
Height 5 ft 2 in (157 cm)
Position Scrum-half/Halfback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
≤1962–≤66 Blackpool Borough
≤1966–66 Barrow
1966–69 St Helens 135 175
1969–73 Cronulla-Sutherland 60 21 0 2 66
Total 195 21 0 2 241
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1966–69 Great Britain 15 15
Coaching information
Club
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1970–73 Cronulla-Sutherland
1979 North Sydney Bears
1980 Cronulla-Sutherland
1980–81 Workington Town
1983–84 Leigh
1985 Barrow
Total 0 0 0 0
Source: NRL Stats, RLP

Tommy Bishop (born (1940-10-15) 15 October 1940 (age 73) in St. Helens, Lancashire) is an English rugby league footballer of the 1960s, and '70s, and coach of the 1970s and '80s, playing for Blackpool Borough, Barrow and St. Helens in the English Rugby Football League Championship and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the New South Wales Rugby League competition in Australia. He also represented Great Britain on several occasions during his career, captaining them on two occasions, his position of choice was at Scrum-half. Now long retired from competitive rugby league Bishop now resides at Robina on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Biography[edit]

Playing career[edit]

1968–1969[edit]

He originally played for St. Helens in the 1968 and '69 seasons. Before that he had started his professional playing career at Blackpool Borough where he became club captain and Player of the Year before being transferred to Barrow and then to St. Helens.

BBC2 Floodlit Trophy final appearances[edit]

Tommy Bishop played Scrum-half in St. Helens' 4-7 defeat by Wigan in the 1968-69 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy final at Central Park, Wigan on Tuesday 16 December 1968.[1]

1969[edit]

Bishop was bought in by the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks for the next few years (1969–74) which was somewhat the norm for Australian clubs to bring in British internationals.

1970–1974[edit]

Upon Cronulla coach Ken Kearney leaving in the 1970 season, Bishop was offered and accepted the role of player/coach for his remaining time (four years) at the Sharks.

Bishop's first match as coach in 1970 provided a 23-13 win over the Newtown Jets at Endeavour, but the club lost their next seven consecutive matches. Then out of the blue, came one of the greatest wins in the club's history. The Sharks thrashed the premiership bound South Sydney Rabbitohs by 25-6 with a style of open football that was soon to become the club's famous trademark.

In 1971 Bishop helped the Cronulla Sharks secure Great Britain power front rower Cliff Watson, and the club had their best season in of their history, winning a total of ten matches. Cronulla finished the season one win from the play-offs and that result most likely would have been even better, had it not been for Bishop succumbing to injury snapping his achilles tendon. This meant Bishop would not return to playing for the Sharks until the first match of the 1973 season. For the remainder of the 1972 Cronulla lapsed to end up well and truly outside of the Top 5 which just shows how much of a key Bishop was to their side.

The year 1973 saw Bishop's Cronulla Sharks make the end of season play-offs for the first time in the clubs history and they did it in style. The Sharks lost only five games in the whole year and finished just one point behind eventual Minor Premiers the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and ahead of local rivals, the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Cronulla being drawn against the Dragons defeated them surprisingly comfortably 18-0 in their first ever semi-final with the help of Bishop, Watson and Rogers. Bishop's Sharks lost to Manly leaving them having to achieve a win over the Newtown Jets to achieve the clubs first Grand Final appearance. Cronulla established a crushing 18-4 half time lead over the Jets, before eventually winning by 20-11. The Sharks were into the Grand Final in their first visit to the play-offs.

Coach Bishop though knew that the Cronulla side's only real hope of beating the defending Premiers Manly was for his team of youthful players to niggle and unsettle the glamour Sea Eagles. Utilising the skills of Cliff Watson to lead the way, the 1973 Grand Final was the most brutal ever seen as the Sharks threw everything at Manly. In the end, it was a champion performance by Bobby Fulton that saw the Sea Eagles home 10-7, the result was disappointing for Bishop but his name had been etched into Cronulla Sharks history from the day.

In 2005 Bishop was made an immortal of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.[2]

Career playing statistics[edit]

Point scoring summary[edit]

Games Tries Goals F/G Points
195 68 17 2 241

Matches played[edit]

Team Matches Years
St Helens 135 1966–69
Cronulla Sharks 23 1969–71, 1973

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1968-1968 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Statistics / Club Records at sharks.com.au

External links[edit]