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David H Richardson
W.R.F.C. & Me in the 50’s & 60’s
My introduction to Worcester Rugby Football Club was Sunday mornings picking up stones off the Bevere pitches when I was still at school Ray Davies my form master was an accomplished wing forward and Bill Bourne was then President of the club suggested that Rugby was a great game.
My relocations of the 1960 at Worcester R.F.C. was in the Colts, 4ths, 3rds & 2nds Bevere & Northwick Road pitches (those walks from Bevere to Northwick Rd collect the corner flags from Ray Shrimptons house etc) Joe Flanagan was Captain followed by Mike Back in the 4ths Dave Robins in the 3rds and John Poole & John Fisher as captains.
With only 2 pitches plus a cricket square at Bevere, 4ths & Colts ended up at Northwick Road, that walk sharpend the aluminium studs nicely!!! My aim then was to get up into the 2nd team then at least you played on the home clubs 1st teams pitch and got hot baths or showers.
For me if I had not been selected for a team I would catch the bus from Hallow and wait in the White Hart in Sidbury (where the Club away side met to travel away (just in case either side was short) & over time I learnt my trade as a Prop (there was little or no coaching as I remember but on one occasion Bernard Blower the then 1st team tight head prop did spend a few minutes with me and he explained that if I wanted to learn how to Prop was to play both Tight head & Loose head & see what the opposite Prop did to you - which I did and to my cost learnt the hard way!!!!
Bunny Young the 1st team hooker who worked with my Father at G.T.Rackstraws the furniture manufactures, suggested if I was to take Rugby more seriously and get fit I could make a decent player, I took that advice and slowly progressed up through the sides.
My recollections of the 60’s is sparse but I do remember a few incidents: My aim was to get up into the 2nd team then at least you played on the home clubs 1st teams pitch and got hot baths or showers. Playing Ross on Wye away on there newly formed ground along side the M50 not a bad pitch when it was dry but a marl red mud field when we played them, they changed in a old stable accent to a pub in the town (old fashioned tin baths) to wash in after the game. You can imagine the state we were in after 80 mins in the mud.
My mother that day had packed in my kit a new white “Christies” towel, well I was not the first back to bath at the pub and by then the luke warm water in the tin baths was orange with the marl from the pitch I washed myself as best I could picked what I thought was my towel and cleaned myself off with it, got dressed and opened my kit bag only to find my New pristine white “Christies” towel untouched !!! to my horror. I quickly packed my kit and went down to the bar. I never found out who’s towel I had used!
On one trip to Stratford upon Avon we got into their beer cellar which was under the Club House and tapped into the beer line and helped ourselves to a few free pints (that was until we were caught!!!)
The trip home from there was always full of surprises like the time we borrowed a candelabra from (The Stag) and the coach was chased across 2 counties by the police we were eventually stopped with the candelabra in the middle of the isle of the coach and nobody knew anything about it or how it had got there — the police very kindly returned it to its rightful owners. No charges as there were no witnesses!!!! Another trip we stopped the coach on the A422 outside Alcester and in small groups of 4 or 5 we went into the pub (The Arrow Mill) after we had obtained our pints the singing started led by our chorus master Geoff Morey and I remember him leading us and most of the regulars in so many songs one especially “Say Mister Fisherman Have You For Me” and to save embarrassment Geoff whistled the rude words to the great amusement of the whole Pub.
I made slow progress through the sides but at last in 1967 I was selected with Bill Davidson (Ex Bath fly-half) to play away at Camp Hill O.E. and the following seasons I featured in the 1st team front row (Lose & Tight Head). Some of the names from then: Chris Archer, Terry O'Flynn, Bill Davidson, Terry Price, Neville South, Jermey Richardson, Dave Robins, Martin Richardson, Malcom Sanderson, Roger Edwards, Andy James, Ian Clapton, James Coomber, Ian Spode, Steve Gibbs, Brian Lowes, Bill Davies, David Veal, Jeff Monnahan, Clive Higgins, Bill Mason, Jazz Kennell, John Poole, Peter Hiles, Keith Clapton, Mike Taylor, Mike Daniels, Peter Pinnell, Dick Turner, Roger Penfold, Geoff Morey, Bernard Blower, Trevor Radford, David Newbould, Derek Hyde, John Glazzard, Ron Coward, Cris Pugh, Alistair McKelvie, Geoff Mann, Micky Meadows, Allen Roberts, Allen Norris, Jasper Farr, Geoff Chambers, John Dutson, Brian Howells, Allen Roberts, Philip Pool, Brian Tidwell, Peter Richardson, Tim Shaw, Roger Davies, Reg Pritchard, David Parsons, Julian Marshall, Phill Collins, Geoff Curnow, Geoff Sargent, Brian Gunston, Alwyn Morris, Cliff Read, Marc Davies, Andy Gebhart, Terry Hackling, Terry Skyrme, John Morris, Bill Jay, Allen Dayus, Guy Griffiths, Geoff Monaghan, John West, Richard Loughran, Micky Knott, Andy Hamill (coach), Chris Johnson, Wyn Griffiths, Martin Pocock, Duncan McLellan, Clive Spencer, Nigel Clay, Clem Davies, Keith Francis, Andy Walton, Steve Farmer, Mike Finnigan, Hugh Rees, Dave Morgan, Roger Adams, George Harrison, Dave Bridgewater, Malcom Atkinson, Keith Plain, John Fisher, John Poole, Collin Groves, P Rafferty, John Sansome, Andy Geddes, Glynn Griffiths, John Smith, T Power, Dick Cummin, Graham Henderson, Harold Farmer, Roger Davies, Steve Knowles, Paul Holinrake, Bob Lloyd, Ivor Lloyd (just some of the guys who featured during the 60’s).
In 1978 my job with Bowmaker Ltd took me to the North East - Sunderland (before leaving Worcester I presented a silver Cup to be presented to The Most Improved Player of the Year). I met up with 2 ex-Worcester players Andy James & Bill Davidson at Northern RFC and played there for a time before moving to play for Sunderland (the brown envelops were more tempting) and stayed there for two and half years. Having made many great friend in the North East my Company moved me to set up a new Joint Venture Company with Toyota Motor Coronation in Bournemouth where I joined Bournemouth RFC.
I had officially hung “up my boots” when we moved to the South Coast until one day I went along to Bournemouth’s R.F.C. ground at Kinson and watched the 1XV play Portsmouth and as one does got chatting to their chairman and "that was that". The next week I was playing for their 4th team. Three weeks later the 1st team were away to Old Askean RFC in London and short of a prop so I joined the coach and we won convincingly which secured my place in the team for the next 3 seasons. I was elected Club Chairman shortly after that and served the Club for 6 years.
During my tenure in 1989 I organised a Veteran Players Tour to Vancouver which was the Club’s first major overseas tour which turned out to be a most memorable 3 weeks, DIR Dave Robins Company were our tour operator which made the organisation much easier for us. We met up with many of the players that we had encountered in 1980 with the Worcester Canada tour.
The Bournemouth centenary season 1993 was the following year and I was asked to chair the organising committee we had a celebratory dinner at the Royal Bath Hotel at which the President of the RFU attended together with a star studded selection of internationals players who also turned out for a President International XV versus Public Schools Wanderers XV on the following day . When I took on that project I was told that there was no budget so we organised a mammoth firework display which brought in the crowds and raised sufficient funds to ensure that we were able to stage the centenary events successfully. During my tenure as chairman the Club had varying levels of success on and off the field but I did leave it in a better health that when I took over.
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