REVIEW: No Sand Dunes in Featherstone: Memories of West Yorkshire Rugby League, edited by Robert Light

Neil Barraclough

No Sand Dunes in Featherstone is a wonderful collection of nostalgia for those old enough to remember some of the moments recalled.

For those born more recently, it provides some vivid imagery and misty-eyed romanticism to dwell on in direct contrast to the modern era of Super League and full time professionalism.

Editor Robert Light interviewed dozens of rugby league personalities to put together this work.

The list of contributors is more than impressive; Great Britain legend Mick Sullivan, referee Billy Thompson, Leeds president Harry Jepson OBE, Ikram Butt, Trevor Foster MBE and BBC commentator Dave Woods are just some of those to have shared their memories.

These recollections first came to the fore while Light was managing the University of Huddersfield’s oral history project ‘Up and Under’.

Light has done a superb job in editing them into a highly-readable and fascinating book that is likely to interest anybody who can remember rugby league as it once was – particularly in West Yorkshire.

But No Sand Dunes in Featherstone also offers a remarkable and compelling insight as a broader social commentary.

As Light himself notes:

“I knew it would be an incredible opportunity to talk with some of the great players and coaches from the past I had read about or watched from the terraces, and hear the experiences of spectators with whom I had so much in common. But I wasn’t fully aware of how far the interviews would reach beyond the game’s history and offer deeper insights into life in Britain during the past 80 or so years.”

For those interested in the history of rugby league – where the game came from, where it has been and where it is heading – No Sand Dunes in Featherstone is sure to be of interest and well worth the tenner or so it will set you back.

No Sand Dunes in Featherstone: Memories of West Yorkshire Rugby League, edited by Robert Light, is out now. ISBN 978-1903659533, published by London League Publications Ltd. It is available to buy here.