…A reporter for the Western Daily Press said of this game; ‘Bristol Rovers, victims of the biggest form upset of the day, crashed 6-3 to Southend United, lowly placed members of the Third Division, at Roots Hall on Saturday.
‘Rovers, minus their skipper and top scorer Alfie Biggs, had fears about the effectiveness of their new look forward line, led by Roy McCrohan for the first time.
‘Yet it gave them a third minute lead and added two more goals before the end. They were all well taken by inside left Ian Hamilton.’
His third goal was described thus; ‘Within a minute the lead reduced when Hamilton completed his hat trick with an incredible 40 yard lob.’
He also scored his first FA Cup goal for Rovers that season, getting on the scoresheet in the 4-1 home win in the second round of the competition, against Weymouth.
Two days after the final league game of the season Ian returned to the side for the annual Gloucestershire Cup Final against Bristol City. Rovers were 3-2 winners at Eastville on 26th April 1965.
The knee problems he experienced that season would resurface during the remainder of his professional career and both he and his goals were sorely missed by Rovers, who didn’t succeed in gaining promotion until 1974.
(A relaxing stroll for these off duty Rovers players, with Ian sporting a pair of ears courtesy of Doug Hillard!)
In 1965/66 Ian made 12 appearances and scored two goals, while there were 11 appearances and three goals in 1966/67.
There was a four match loan spell with Exeter City in October 1967, and he scored for the Grecians in a game against Doncaster Rovers.
However, he returned to Eastville and his final league appearance for Rovers came in a 3-1 defeat against Stockport County, at Edgeley Park, on April 13th 1968.
By then he had scored the final hat trick of his career, netting three goals for the reserves in an astonishing 6-5 defeat against Swansea at Eastville on January 16th.
He was awarded a Testimonial match the following month when a combined Rovers/City XI took on an All Star team at Eastville.
Writing in his Testimonial programme, Bert Tann said; ‘Ian Hamilton is yet another player who has spent ten years with the Rovers and is one of the players who helped us enjoy two of the better years in the last eight.
‘The success of the Hamilton-Biggs partnership in season 1963/64 saw the beating of Geoff Bradford’s club scoring record and Ian himself scored 18 goals.
‘Alfie Biggs’ goals, or many of them, came from Ian’s efforts and Ian scored a number as the result of Alf’s work. When the split came, neither of them found anyone so complete in their understanding and therefore the results of our games began to be less fruitful.
‘I hope tonight’s game will bring a reward through good support and an enjoyable experience for those who play and watch. All of us wish Ian well and hope his future will be a happy one.’…
Rovers team photo from 1966/67. Ian is on the Just one Rovers game was played on January 16th 1968 and, as can be seen, Ian scored a hat trick in a remarkable 6-5 defeat
front row, sat between Alfie Biggs and Bobby Jones