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I first became involved with the colts at the end of the 1979/80 season. I wanted to play rugby, any rugby, so big Ron Saunders and Derek Thompson welcomed me and gave me a game at outside centre on a wednesday night, not a position I had ever played before but it was brilliant. That game started a lifetime association with the club. Two players on that Wednesday turned out for the first team on the Saturday and I remember thinking how cool would that be.
At the beginning of the 1980/81 season the club had just returned from Canada on tour and I had now left school and was labouring for the summer. Chris Jordan was full of stories about the tour and the characters on it. The Crown in Broad street had become the trendy pub to go to and we made this the Colts go to pub. Little did we know that, as the season went on, the Colts became more successful and more and more people would join us in the crown. Many a Saturday night Sunday morning resulted in leaving through large locked doors to the sound of birds singing and the sun coming up on Worcester high street.
Part way through the season I was called into the first team, training stepped up to Tues, Weds and Thurs but still the Colts was where my heart was. I played fifty percent of the games, shared with the first team, we set a new record for most games won in a season by a club team, and I made friends for life. I went to college the following year, but did pre-season and grabbed any games I could during the holidays, some in the first team, some in the third team, it didn't matter.
I returned to Worcester full time after three years at College and never left again. I retired from playing in 1997 and coaching in 2016, 500+ first team appearances and forever on various committees and coaching through to under 17 boys. My only regret is that the team that started my affair with rugby no longer exists. When I took on my coaching role, the Colts were in trouble, and our aim was to make sure we provided a Colts team at the end of our tenure. The Colts rebirth was achieved through some hard work and even harder choices made by individuals, who know who they are and I thank them, but sadly, for a number of reasons, the colts have disappeared again.
I still believe that some rugby needs to be offered to 17 to under 19 year olds not least because it is bloody good fun and you meet some amazing people.
WRFC Colts 1980-81
Jon Wootten: front row kneeling, 4th left
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