Thursday 28 June 2012

Wartime Internationals

Many representative fixtures were played during the Second World War with the proceeds usually donated to wartime charities. In my book 'Let Them Play By All Means' I mentioned a number of these fixtures and was also able to include illustrations showing the programmes that were produced for the games.
Below is a programme for an England v Wales wartime International that I wasn't able to include in the book.

I would like to thank Richard Lowther for providing the illustration.

For further information on 'Let Them Play By All Means' please click on the 'Let Them Play' tab above

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Bramley Rugby

In 1971 Bramley Rugby Union Club had been in existence for 50 years. To mark to occasion the club published a pamphlet highlighting the events that had led to the formation of the club and some of events that had taken place during the previous 50 years. Below is an extract from that pamphlet.

The club continues to play at The Warrels but is now called Bramley Phoenix following a merger with a Bradford based club called Phoenix Park.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Rugby League Characters - Bob Fox

Bob Fox

I first met Bob Fox when I joined Bentley Amateur Rugby League Club in 1973. Bob, was an outstanding club secretary, he was well organised, kept meticulous records and made sure that everything ran smoothly off the field. As was often the case at amateur rugby league clubs in the 1970s the success or otherwise of the club depended upon the efficiency of just one man, usually the club secretary. Bob was the type of person who never left anything to chance. The very high administrative standards that he set would have been difficult to match, even in the professional game. Therefore, it was no surprise when, in the early 1980s, he was recruited by a businessman called Paul Fairies to work full-time in professional rugby league. Paul Faires had established a new professional club, based in Maidstone, called Kent Invicta. Bob left a secure job in Doncaster and moved to Kent as full-time club secretary. Unfortunately for him and his wife, things didn’t work out as planned and when Kent Invicta folded towards the end of their first season and re-appeared as Southend Invicta, Bob was made redundant. I believe that he did eventually return to Doncaster, working on the lottery at a number of professional clubs. I am sure that Bob was very disappointed with the way things turned out. He was the sort of person who could have been a big success as a full-time administrator but sadly it seems he chose the wrong rugby league club to work for.

Friday 1 June 2012

Winter Rugby !

Playing on the wing for Barnsley Rugby Union Club in the 1970s could be very frustrating. We struggled on occasions to dominate in the forwards which meant that we got very little ball coming out to the backs. We seemed to have players at stand-off who loved to kick the ball. This meant that with very little ball coming our way it was extremely frustrating to be chasing kicks all afternoon, especially when most of those kicks were going into touch. I was very grateful for shorts with pockets and I spent a lot of the eighty minutes of some games with my hands in my pockets. The lack of action meant that if you did get a running chance it was likely that, because your hands were so cold, if you didn’t get a good pass you were in danger of dropping the ball. The pockets in the shorts helped most weeks but were ineffective if it was wet as well as cold. I recall one particular game we played away at Rochdale on a freezing cold day in the middle of November. As well as the freezing temperatures it was also raining and sleeting. The team was going through a poor run of results and because of that there was very little enthusiasm for playing an expansive game. The first team pitch at Rochdale was fairly exposed and very muddy. As a consequence of our lack of confidence, the pitch and weather conditions we kept the ball in the forwards for most of the game. My only opportunity of any real action came in the second half when I chased a kick through and got to the ball first to touch it down for a try. The problem was that my hands were so numb I was not sure whether I had touched the ball. Fortunately the referee was up with play and he decided I had scored a try. The other fortunate thing was that nobody tried to pass me the ball, as I am sure I wouldn’t have been able to catch it. After this particular game it must have taken me over an hour to get warm again.