Malcolm Fender

I moved to Worcester in January 1974 to take up a post at the Royal Grammar School and also undertook sleep-in duties at Worcester College for the Blind (as it was called in those days). I became friends with Clive Spencer who was a teacher at the College and played for Worcester Rugby Club First Team. He suggested I might play. I joined that month and was selected to play for the fifth team the first week, then the following weeks for the fourth team, third team and second team, where I stayed for a couple of weeks. Due to Royal Grammar commitments I was unavailable for the seconds one week, however the event was cancelled on the Saturday morning and I turned up at Belvere... on the off chance of getting a game.

The fifth team were playing and as it turned out, were a centre (my position) short. So I got to play. With about 5-10 minutes to play and nearly 50 points ahead, Worcester had a line out 5 yards out from the opponents line. We secured the line out but a loose ball from a scrappy line out produced an awkward ball for the scrum half, who under pressure in turn threw a loose bouncing ball out along the ground, missing out the Fly Half; I can remember thinking if I pick it up on the burst at speed, my momentum would probably carry me over ( although I was only 10 stone weight) and with a player in front of me. The ball bounced into my arms at speed, ducking my shoulder I drove for the line. As I was about to hit the opposition player, my legs were taken from me. As I started to go down the back of my skull made contact with the forehead of the other player. Bang! I lost consciousness. I came around again as I was being placed on a stretcher, but drifted in and out of consciousness until I reached the old Worcester hospital where I spent four days in intensive care.

The first night the fifth team had a whip round and the captain brought me a whopping big basket of fruit. Great support and compassion from the Worcester players. I had never been a fan of poetry but the accident motivated me to write arguably the worst 2 poems ever!

The Inevitable Try
The Line ahead, the ball in play
The service good, the backs away
With vigour and speed he races ahead
A gap or opening, or so it's said
The break is made, the centre free
The line advancing at great speed

The cover defence on its way
Too late, dummy thrown, decision made
Fleet of foot, ball to hand
Head down, legs pumping, eating up ground
Pace increased, determined run
A try inevitable

Prepare, drop shoulder, head up
But wait, the full back bars the way
With the line just 5 yards away
Too late
Collision. Impact... here it comes
A try inevitable

But no, darkness...

The Accident
I woke amid the flashing lights
Sirens wailing burning bright
People clamouring to and fro
Looks of panic, fear, distress
Agony and fear prevail

A thought, a second, a blink of the eye
Then nausea, pain and darkness fell
Silence reigned supreme
Then looks and noises crowded in
Agony and fear prevail

A wisp of time or so it seemed
Sirens screeching, flashing lights
A moment, consciousness regained
Each thought a second flashing by
Infancy, childhood, life...
then Oblivion.
Agony and fear prevail

Malcolm Fender March 1974


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Rugby at Worcester since 1871

Worcester Greyhounds - 1963
Worcester Rugby Football Club Colts - 1979
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - 1956/57
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - 1890's
Ladies Night 1958 - Bevere
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - 1971
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - 1920's
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - Promotion 1990