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My time with The Wanderers started 2 years after I retired from rugby in 2000 in 2002 . I met up with a bunch of the boys and bloke called Steve Tustin asked if I would become their Coach. So I think it was season 2002-2003 and I am still involved with WRFC.
In that time the boys were nicknamed Tusty’s Fusiliers. A great bunch of lads who kept on winning the league matches and we started a pathway of winning leagues to get to highest level they could. With players like Steve Tustin, Ian price, Ian Richards, Shoeless Jim Mathias Joph Young, Adrian Farmer, Lee Watson, Big Al Borwick, Simon Fourdry, Sam Jones, Dave Shaw, Will Orgee, John Moffat and Ed Craven Smith we had a strong team on and off the pitch.
In the early days we had a great rivalry with Birmingham-Solihull. They had set up an amateur team in the same way we set up the Wanderers. For Two/Three Seasons we gained promotion alongside them with wins going both ways. One memorable time when former Worcester Warrior Gareth Hughes played at fly half we came away with a win at Sharmans Cross Road, Gareth could do no wrong and pulled the strings as for once our pack had the better of B&S.
We generally had a very strong team but we found our level. When I started the boys were training once a week on a Wednesday with sometimes only 3-4 turning up. As we progressed we gratefully had Niall Crawford came alongside me and started the process of telling the guys in the team it has to be twice a week training, this caused some concern but was ok when we said the bar will be open!!
We had some very notable games and some heavy defeats and the rivalry between us and Birmingham Solihull was a great catalyst. As an interesting note the captain of the B&S Team at the time was Lawrence Grove who’s son came and played at Warriors later and also got capped for Scotland.
We had a quarter final cup game against Harborne over at Harborne. We were few short and I was on the bench again. Paul Hart got sent off and Sammy Orgee had to come off injured. So we were down to 14 men and I had to go on we were 24-3 down I think it was and only about 15 minutes to go. My inclusion in the game at that point had a sort of an effect on the boys. We gained position and I managed to score 2 trys and we scored a 3rd another one which I was involved in and Jim Callow touched down. The conversion drew the game and we won as we had scored more tries. Paul Hart brought them a couple of cases the beer for the changing room by way of apology and we went on to semi-final. We played the Semi at sixways against Old Saltleians I think and were second best but we’d had a great run.
Another game, in the cup again, against a team just outside Sheffield, what are we doing playing in Yorkshire?, anyway we were again short on numbers and we went up with a depleted first team 15 players and me on and Lee Watson as the bench. Lee was in his early days of training to be a fireman so if he got injured the he would have real problems withhis career!! The boys were in no uncertain terms to only come off there was actually bone showing!! There club was demolished and being rebuilt so it was portacabin changing rooms and we had her after match meal at the local working men's club. We won the game by 1 point, and no subs. So we are in South Yorkshire and off to the working men's club. The locals were all in Saturday finery as we walked into the bar. We were in the back bar with the locals genuinely in flat caps and whippets. Dan Clay had called early that it was ladies half hour. We could only order ladies style drinks. I'm at the bar and my order was 3 halves of lager and lime, 2 White Wine spritzer, a Campari and soda and amaretto sour. The whole place went quiet as you can imagine as we snuck back to our seats for pie mash and peas!! The Campari bottle had to be Rocked off has it been that long since it had been used but good times with a good bunch of boys. The coach trip back is legendary but not for publication. But please ask it’s a great story.
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