Friday 6 January 2012

Joining a rugby club

I wonder if joining a rugby club is as easy, these days, as it was in the 1960s.

I was encouraged to join Leeds Chirons by Cliff Bent, a teacher from my school who was the 'A' team hooker. The 'A' team at that time was mainly made up of men coming to the end of their playing careers. Results for the 'A' team were very poor and I imagine that by recruiting a number of young players from his school, Cliff was attempting to lower the age profile of the team and provide Chirons with some potential first teamers. I particularly remember three other boys from Matthew Murray School who joined Chirons, Chris Wingfield, Andrew Newton and Barry Stones. Chris Wingfield joined Chirons at the same time as I did, but didn't stay very long. Andy was the first of us to break into the first team and he looked to have a very promising future as a rugby player. He was selected for a Yorkshire Colts trial and established himself as a first team regular. However, Andy got the 'travel bug' and so, as a teenager, he set off to see the world. Although he returned to Chirons in later life he never really made the impact on the Yorkshire rugby scene that he might have done in different circumstances. Barry Stones was a tough wing forward who became a first team regular and stayed with the club for a number of seasons. For my part I made my first team debut at the end of my first season with Chirons and stayed with the club until 1969. I returned in 1979 and played a few games in the 1979/80 season. In all I played over 150 games for Chirons and scored 30 tries.

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