From nervous winger emerging through the junior ranks to exciting first team full-back, Chris Bibb’s rise to prominence was as rapid as it was welcome.
1987 Chris Bibb.
1987 Chris Bibb.
One bright spot in the miserable relegation year of 1986/87 was the form of young Chris Bibb, who was took the chance to shine given to him by coach Paul Daley. His early club games won him a place in the GB Colts side to play France where he suffered a serious concussion being detained overnight in hospital. After that, he wore a distinctive head-guard throughout the early part of his career. When Peter Fox took over in 1987 he dabbled with Graham Steadman at full-back before plumping for Bibb, who rewarded him with 20 tries in his first full season. Bibb’s high speed chases of long Steadman kicks straight from the scrum became a regular try scoring feature for Rovers. Chris also won the first of his five GB Under 21 caps, but missed out on our trip to Old Trafford in 1988 through injury.
He took his form seamlessly into the top flight, where he continued to catch the eye with his runs of real pace bringing plenty of tries. Despite his slight build, he also displayed some terrific cover defence. One highlight was his six tries in a match effort against Keighley in 1989. He appeared for Yorkshire in their victorious War of the Roses fixtures. Chris Bibb then won the ultimate accolade of a Great Britain tour spot in the summer of 1990 to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. On tour he played eight games and it was in the first test at Palmerston North where Bibb made his test debut, thereby becoming the first, and so far to date, the only Featherstone player to represent Great Britain at full-back in tests. He helped his country to an 11-10 success, but was overlooked for the remaining tests. On returning from that tour, his top form continued. Disappointingly Rovers found themselves back in the second division in 1992, but Bibb took it in his stride until a serious knee injury in March 1993 at Rochdale ended his season, with Martin Pearson filling in as Bibb missed out on Old Trafford again.
After that, it became increasingly difficult for Bibb to recover full fitness. After six full years as first choice full-back he was now struggling for form, and over the next two seasons played just nine games. He was granted a testimonial in the truncated 1995/96 before leaving the club. He played the odd game for Wakefield and also some rugby union. In total he scored 79 tries in 248 appearances for Featherstone Rovers.