Tommy Bishop (born 15 October 1940) is an English former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1960s and 1970s, and coached in the 1970s and 1980s. He played for Blackpool Borough, Barrow and St Helens in the English 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 as a scrum-half.
|Full name||Thomas Bishop|
|Born||15 October 1940|
St. Helens, England
|Height||5 ft 2 in (157 cm)|
Now long retired from competitive rugby league, Bishop now resides at Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia.
Tommy Bishop started his professional rugby league playing career at Blackpool Borough where he became club captain, and Player of the Year before being transferred to Barrow, and then onto St. Helens, where he played from the January of the 1965–66 season until the end of the 1968–69 season.
Championship Final appearancesEdit
Tommy Bishop played scrum-half in St. Helens' 35-12 victory over Halifax in the Championship Final during the 1965–66 season at Station Road, Swinton on Saturday 28 May 1966, in front of a crowd of 30,165.
Challenge Cup Final appearancesEdit
Tommy Bishop played scrum-half and scored a try in St. Helens' 21-2 victory over Wigan in the 1965–66 Challenge Cup Final during the 1965–66 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 21 May 1966, in front of a crowd of 98,536.
County Cup Final appearancesEdit
Tommy Bishop played scrum-half in St. Helens' 2-2 draw with Warrington in the 1967–68 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1967–68 season at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 7 October 1967, played scrum-half in the 13-10 victory over Warrington in the 1967–68 Lancashire County Cup Final replay during the 1967–68 season at Station Road, Swinton on Saturday 2 December 1967, and played scrum-half, and scored a try in the 30-2 victory over Oldham in the 1968–69 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1968–69 season at Central Park, Wigan on Friday 25 October 1968.
BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Final appearancesEdit
Bishop was brought 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.
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 club's 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 * Bluebags to achieve the club's 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.
Career playing statisticsEdit
Point scoring summaryEdit
|Cronulla Sharks||23||1969–71, 1973|
- "NRL Stats". NRL Stats. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
- "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "Coach Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "1968-1968 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- Statistics / Club Records Archived 22 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine at sharks.com.au