How nice to read Jim Bird’s email on the website. Of course he does exaggerate, I had no problem in seeing the ball come into the scrum, it was the line out throws that were the problem! I did contemplate wearing my glasses, for when we played a Dutch team some of them played in glasses – quite true.
Actually I recall the game against the Dutch side. I was still playing flanker in those days. It was with some relish that I noticed the Dutch fly half wore glasses. As a bonus I spotted that my opposing flanker only had one arm; one was amputated at the elbow. He was bloody good though and surprising competent. Needless to say we won. The celebrations that evening went late into the night. I awoke in the bar the next morning with the hooker. The U19s had a game with the Dutch side in the morning and were short so we propped for them, and won again. Paul Clarke
Going back a bit, an away game by coach was always a treat. It was better than meeting at the ticket barrier to catch the train to Maidenhead, walking through the town, changing at ‘The White Swan’ then down to and back from the game – normally wet and muddy – then a drink or two afterwards. Some did miss the last train.
Yes we did ‘train’ in those days. The week before the first match some ran around Ealing Cricket Club a couple of times then retired to the bar. During the season we used the Ealing County School and played touch rugby – warm up exercises had not yet been invented!. We were never sure if touch rugby was a good idea or not as more broken bones, bruises and sprains resulted from this training than occurred on the pitch The problem was however that we had started to lose games to a new club called Henley. We found out that they did serious rugby training twice a week….so to keep up we also were forced into doing the same.
Now let me see where was I …memories.
I found Henry – Capstan Full Strength. Cigarettes (40 a day) – who we used as our coach driver for a number of years, in fact till the coach was taken into custody! It had never happened to Henry before. A panda police car was across the road as we approached Esher. We were told to turn around and return to the pub we had just left. The landlord it would seem was missing some bar stools. We made room for our ‘escort’ policeman to sit down in the coach, and then followed the panda car back to the pub. The bar stools were located outside the pub and the landlord was happy. To this day I have no idea who managed to get the bar stool the escort policeman was sitting on in the coach out! Still it all ended happily and we had another drink.
The past is of course the past. Rugby was played for the pleasure it gave us. We had no league structure. We played home one year and away the next. The International players came from club sides, so our opponents were no push over, nor for that matter were we Ealing played against County players and Internationals – Wasps Peter Yarranton, and Lloyds Bank Albert Ager, to name but two. Yes Lloyds Bank had an International player! What division are they now in?
When the colts started, we had a great response and ended up putting out two teams –under 19 – on a Saturday afternoon!
When you have time ask RHB Jones about the Extra B XV (then Ealings 5th team) it had one of the best records in the club. When he tells you we played a second row (Don Lyall) in the centre, it is true. We had a problem one Saturday. One of our Kiwis’s had problems over his car and the police. His free phone call was not to a solicitor but to get a friend to take his place in the Extra B team. Mike Gardener (New Zealand trials) turned up to take his place. We won. And Mike stayed for a few seasons.
I played with some great club Captains, Warwick Tilton, John Mallinson, Terry Connor, Martin Nolan and of course Jim Bird.
Memories and stories from the past….The sun is hot so time for my siesta . .