It is the day which comes around the least frequently.

Having said that, both Darren Ambrose, once of Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic, and Spain and Barcelona’s Ferran Torres celebrate birthdays on 29th February and it is tough on St John Cassian, whose feast day comes round only once every four years.

February 30th also existed in Sweden in the year 1712, but that’s another story entirely.

In fact, Rovers have played three Football League fixtures on 29th February. In 1936, the side defeated Millwall 2-0 in front of a 5,000 crowd at Eastville, thanks to goals from Jack Woodman (1914-84) and Stan Prout (1911-96).

Shrewsbury Town were the opponents in both 1964 and 2020, Rovers winning 1-0 at Gay Meadow in the former, through a Bobby Jones (1938-2015) goal in front of a crowd of 6,061, whilst Dominic Udoh’s strike gave the Shrews victory at The Mem four years ago, before 6,954 spectators; James Daly was making his first Rovers appearance that day.

Prior to the Football League era, Rovers played two matches on this day. On 29th February 1896, Rovers drew 1-1 at Bell Hill, away to St George in the Western League; John Ross (an Irish centre half who scored five goals in 32 appearances for Rovers) scored for Rovers and George Harris for St George in front of a crowd of 4,000.

On this day in 1908, Plymouth Argyle were defeated 1-0 at Eastville in the Southern League, a crowd of 10,000 seeing Billy Clark score the only goal of the game. A Scotsman, Clark (1881-1937) scored 35 goals in 133 Southern League matches with Rovers, whilst Albert Scothern (1882-1970) was making his Rovers début in that match.

Only one Rovers player was born on 29th February. Charles Heinemann was born in Stafford on this day in 1904, the third of five sons to Anton Heinemann (1857-1942) and his wife Adelaide Sales (1877-1966). An inside-forward, he joined Rovers from Stafford Rangers in May 1925. He played in the first three League fixtures of 1925/26 before joining Port Vale and died in Hornchurch, Essex in May 1974.

Frank Handley (1879-1938), who played in 93 Southern League matches with Rovers, was baptised on 29th February 1880 at Wolstanton. He played for Rovers between 1907 and 1910 and, employed as a window cleaner, died at the age of 59, when he fell from his ladder whilst working on the Midland Bank building in Burslem in December 1938.

Outside left Billy Compton died on 29th February 1976 in Bournemouth. Born in Bristol in April 1896, he had represented both Bristol City and Exeter City in the League before arriving at Eastville in May 1928; he scored three goals in 21 League matches with Rovers before joining Bath City in August 1929.