When he runs onto the Craven Park surface on Saturday night Phil Cowburn will become the first All Golds’ player to reach 100 appearances for the club.
Phil joined the University of Gloucestershire on a rugby league scholarship and would go on to be one of the star performers for the BUCS side who won the national title in 2012/2013. After a stint with the Gloucestershire Warriors he made his debut for the All Golds in our first professional game against Hemel back in 2013 and has missed only a handful of games since. In his time with the club Phil has grown from a raw, inexperienced player into one of the senior members of the squad who can always be relied upon to give nothing less than 100%. In his 99 appearances for the club Phil has scored an impressive 41 tries and has earned the reputation as being one of the best finishers in the division.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Barrow, Phil says he’s looking forward to what he calls a ‘special game’. He said: “It’s been a long, hard journey, the first game back in 2013 seems ages ago. To be the first All Gold to reach 100 appearances is a big honour for me.
“The first game was quite a shock to be honest, a massive step up from university rugby. It probably took us a season to get used to the speed and intensity of the professional game. As soon as we became more experienced we started winning more games. That month in the summer of 2014 was fantastic, we beat York and Hunslet, who were two of the top teams in the league then.
“I’ve loved every minute of my time at the All Golds. Of course there have been a few heavy defeats along the way but you tend to remember the great wins more than the losses. Rugby league is a brutal game and playing alongside your best mates makes it easier.
“Obviously this season has been great as well. We’ve shown what we can do by beating great teams like Keighley and Workington. No one gave us a chance in those two games so to come away with the win was incredible, there’s no better feeling. I’ve really enjoyed this season, playing at centre has been great, I’ve struck up a good partnership with Mo Agoro who is the leading try scorer in the division. To be honest I’ll play wherever I’m asked but I do prefer centre.”
Our head coach, who has overseen Phil’s development for the past three seasons, paid tribute to him. Lee Greenwood said: “Phil has been an excellent professional during my time at the club. He has played every position in the backline and given his best in each, no questions asked. It is a great achievement for him to become the first All Gold to reach 100 appearances and it is also fantastic for the club that these personal milestones are being reached on a regular basis now.”