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I played in all age groups from the Under 9's upwards and, at some stage, played for every team, junior and senior. However most of my senior rugby for Worcester was 2nd XV. A lot of former players have said how much they enjoyed it, because it was still a good standard of rugby, but without the pressure of playing for the firsts. It meant we could play attractive, open rugby.
Here, is a photo of one 2nd XV team during my time as Captain. Also below, is my end of season report for the 1995/96 season. At the time, I think it was the most successful season for a Worcester team, winning 28 out of 32 games. The most notable victory was against Northampton.
Back row; E Orgee, S Tustin, L Wilkinson, J Goodman, J Rose Middle row; J Goodman, A Spencer, R Wilkes, N Crawford, R Cope Front row; S Taylor, M Andrew, P McCormack, D Bowen, B Stanhope
WORCESTER SECOND SECOND XV REPORT FOR 1995/96
The Second XV have had a very successful season. The side played 32, won 28, lost 4, scoring 1050 points in the process and conceding only 318. There were many highlights to the season, in particular the wins against Northampton Seconds, Gordon League Firsts and Luctonians Firsts. Victories against teams such as these showed the strength of the side and that the team could adapt to play any number of game plans, being happy to spin the ball wide or alternatively play a controlled game with the forwards to exploit any opposition weaknesses.
The Northampton game in particular showed that we could compete on equal terms both in the forwards and backs. The forwards showed their strength in particular when they drove the Northampton pack 20 yards backwards, when they had been looking to drive over from a five metre scrum in the last minute of the game. The backs also showed their-commitment in this game with Ian Hunter being heard to say "Get this animal off me!" when Ali McLaughlin gave him his personal attention following a particularly hard tackle.
The games against Gordon League firsts and Luctonians Firsts proved the teams ability to play disciplined and controlled rugby against well drilled first team sides. Luctonians were unbeaten in the season before they played us.
There were also a few low points. Losing to Stourbridge by one point which ended the run of 17 straight victories from the beginning of the season in particular. Any loss to Stourbridge is disappointing but to lose the unbeaten run to them was particularly so. We did go some way to making amends later in the season by beating them 28-5.
The 4 defeats suffered were all the result of the team not playing well rather than the opposition being superior and on another day we could have beaten any of those teams, as we did in the case of Stourbridge. Though that is disappointing in terms of the record that might have been, it is very encouraging as a sign of the strength in depth that the club has when it takes on 28 or more league games next season.
Everybody who played for the team contributed to its success, but, certain players deserve a mention. Steve Taylor played in 31 of the 32 games. The one game that he reluctantly missed was due to an ankle injury. Steve never failed to strengthen the team with his aggressive running and commitment, scoring many of the teams tries. He actually improved his skills this year and has even developed a side step which he has used on rare occasions to run round rather than through his opposite number.
Joey Heal has provided the team with a regular scrum half whose power and deadly forearm drive were put to particularly good use against Dave Merlin in the Northampton game.
John Yarwood and Dave West, who have both developed tremendously over the season, were always 100% committed and provided real mobility around the pitch. Ian Richards whose kicking ability won us a number of games both in terms of goal and positional kicks but who also showed his ability to run the ball and play the expansive game when allowed to play the game as he wanted.
I'm currently a Director and Secretary. Click here to read the original Articles of Association from 1954 for the purchase of Bevere. It has always been the case, since then, that the land the Club played on was owned by Holdings, so that if the Club got into financial difficulty, then the land would be safe and rugby could continue to be played. Initially members of the Club bought shares, but most of these have now been returned and are held by the Club’s trustees.
Holdings have served the Club well over many years. In particular during the transition from amateur to professional, to make sure that the ground was protected. The Director’s during that time included Peter Underwood, Don Everton, Richard Kimberley, my father, John Wenden and Jeremy Richardson.
Hopefully my brother, Mike, and brother-in-law, Bruce Mercer will have said more about this, but my grandfather, Albert Edward Wilkes was involved. From the initial shareholders of Holdings you will see his name. He was President of the club during the period 1961-1963.
My father was Captain and President and played regularly for the North Mids. When he stopped playing, he was always involved in the Club, in particular, coaching the Colts. One of the Colts games was against Schools and Colleges. The team in red above was one of those teams.
I know a lot of his former Colts still remember with great fondness playing at that time. CJ and Ron Saunders being 2. I have clear memories of being squashed in a car with as many colts as Dad could get in to go to away games. One of Dad's talents was to always treat everyone with respect. He had players from all backgrounds and upbringings, but if they were keen to play that was all that mattered.
My brother Mike played regularly until he moved to Bournemouth. My brother-in-law Bruce Mercer is a former Captain.
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