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I'd like to share some memories with you for the clubs 150 years from my years at Bevere Drive and the early days at Sixways.
My introduction to Worcester RFC was as a teenager of 16 years old having left the shelter of schools rugby at Bromsgrove School in 1973 playing back row. The only previous experience of adult rugby was for Bromsgrove School 1st XV as a 15 year old against Spartans RFC in our annual warm up game which left me with a broken nose which has stayed crooked to this day!
The further education of adult rugby was about to begin with the likes of seasoned players and officials in the shape of Bernie Blower, Mick Meadows, Neville South, Jim Coomber, The Richardson's, Trevor Redford, All The Everton's, Ted Jay, Keith Plain, Bill Mercer, Bill Mason, Gary Croome, Bill Mercer, Ivor Lloyd, Terry Waldron and many others guiding me along the way in different directions.
I have fond memories of the rugby values that I've been able to pass on from the field of play to the club house revelry. The bath at Bevere was something to behold if the boiler was working and then the luxurious baths at Sixways. The Saturday night discos at Bevere on beer soaked lino floors, Southport rugby tour on the Sunshine bus care of Tony Halford, the epic Max Boyce evening at Sixways and many other social events that the club ran.
My first game for the club was away at Kenilworth for the 3rd XV, travelling with the 1st team. Only recognising players from training it was a daunting moment going into the unknown of rugby away trips, what time would I get back to the club, maybe 10'ish?
In those days the duty of care was slightly different, just under someone's wing for the day. The Kenilworth pitch was different as well, a walk away from the main club in a water meadow and yes plenty of water to attempt to play a game of rugby.
Oh, the journey home. No mobiles. Well, we eventually arrived back around midnight, my father sitting in the car waiting freezing cold. That was the last time he ever dropped me off and picked me up from a game of rugby, from then on I was dropped off at Bernie Blowers house in Callow End and normally found a way of getting back to Upton on Severn with Mickey Meadows. Eventually I passed my driving test and somehow guided my Mini the 20 odd miles to and from the club to home.
There were evenings ending up in The Anchor in Upton on our way back from Gloucester or Cheltenham with Mickey Meadows where Anne would pick him up from the pub. The Anchor is the only pub that I was banned from for under age drinking which was partly due to living 50 yards down the lane from it and the guys carrying me home, leaning me against the door bell running for it and my mother seeing her son roll down the two steps into the house.
1st and 3rd team away trips were always a long messy affair and fun evenings out, stops at The Longbridge in Birmingham on the way back from Burton which sadly is no longer there, The Vale of Lune must have been one of the longest trips we undertook.
There was some rugby played as well, training nights at Bevere searching for Terry Hacklings contact lenses in the mud under the dim lights that we had. The 3rd XV was a good educational start with some good rugby played. This gave me the stepping stone to be selected for The Worcester and Hereford County Colts which was a great honour for me, who I eventually captained in my last season of colts rugby. The county games were fitted in around club rugby which always brought you back to reality, kept your feet on the ground and made you train harder at the club as well as Sunday county training in various parts of the two counties.
The next transition was a move into the 2nd team under the captaincy of Keith Plain with Ivor Lloyd at scrum half, myself either at blindside or openside flanker with Clive Spencer at number 8 when he wasn't able to travel with the first team, I learnt a lot from Clive who's reading of the game was exceptional. The 2nd team gave me the opportunity to improve my game with the reward of being selected for the North Midlands Colts as well as the county colts games.
In between senior rugby the colts developed more at Sixways and if I remember was put together occasionally under the guidance of Derek Thompson and Brian Wilkes. At the time colts rugby was an amalgamation of KES Worcester/RGS Worcester, those of us who were club players, John West, Steve Knowles, Jeremy Matts, Bruce Mercer and others. Unfortunately due to the lack of time together it always took time for us to gel, if we'd been a modern colts setup I think we'd been an extremely good side. Our one epic game showed the level we could have played at and that was against Leicester Vipers narrowly going down 9 - 14 when we had opportunities to win the game. Colts 7's was always a great day out with some success.
Sadly due to concussion injuries over a period of time my playing time at Worcester ended prematurely.
Over the last 45 years rugby has taken me into different aspects of the game, coaching at Ledbury RFC 1983 - 89 where we kept the link with Worcester by inviting the club the play pre-season games. In the 90's refereeing with the Somerset (Bath) Society and the Devon Society to Development level.
Laterly over the last 20 years I’ve been coaching at Kingsbridge RFC with the juniors and 12 years at colts rugby, where the colts team of 2011 won the county cup which was the 1st time that a colts team had done this in the club's history.
All those years of passing on the values that I learnt at Worcester came to fruition and for the amateur game it's important that we don't lose sight of rugby values.
The photos are of the presentation of The Colts Cup and some cuttings I found.
Best wishes for the 150 year season in 2021.
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