Harrow County School for Boys

This article, written by Alec Amos, former Head of PE, was printed in the Harrow County Rugby Football Club souvenir programme for the Easter Tour of France 1958.  (Thanks to John Berge for bringing it to my attention- ed.)


It was more than thirty six years ago that the first game of rugger was played at School, when a brief comment appeared in the School Magazine, December 1921: “Rugger was first played by the School on November 11th, when a match took place between Lower V and IV B.  Mr. Durant, a Forward, and Mr. Atkinson at Full Back, evidently enjoyed themselves heartily, and so did the spectators.”  Mr. Durrant, P. E. Master, organized this game.  Mr. Atkinson, a member of the Maths Staff, organized School Athletics, bringing this activity to a very high level and producing some very fine athletes, outstanding among whom were J. V. Powell, Olympic Half Miler, and G. A. G. Clark, who represented England as a Long Jumper.  The Magazine article goes on to say, “There are many Rugger enthusiasts in School who are anxious to see their favourite game receive the recognition it deserves.  They must wait and see.”

These enthusiasts did not have to wait long, for at the beginning of the Autumn Term 1922, the Headmaster, Mr. Randall Williams, as he was then, called a meeting of senior boys who might be interested in learning to play rugger.  They were, of course, boys who had not shown any marked ability at Soccer, for the School, at that time, had a strong Soccer team.  The meeting was held during one “break” in Room 4 (now B 17).  A little rugger had been played, somewhat unofficially, the previous season, but this was the first attempt to introduce the game as a School activity.  Mr. Durrant had left to take up a country Headship and had been succeeded by Mr. W. Turner, a Scot and a rugger enthusiast.  At this meeting, the first Rugby Captain was elected.  Years later, he joined the Staff and assisted in coaching Rugger – Mr. R. S. King.  Mr. King says he was elected probably to give the newly formed Club some stature, not for his knowledge or prowess, but because he was School Captain.

In those early days, the only playing field was that adjoining School.  It was much bigger then and extended to the gardens next to the cycle racks.  There were no huts or Dining Hall; these came with the War, although some ground, where now stands the New Wing, was lost in 1938 when these extensions were begun.  The only building on the field was the Scout Hut which stood on the spot which is now the Coke bin.  So there was space on the field for a Cricket Table, smaller than the present one, and two soccer pitches, one either side of it.  It was on the upper one that the early rugger games were played.  The Soccer goals were converted to rugger goal posts by tying poles to the uprights.  At this time, players had no proper rugger jerseys, but used the School pullover that was then generally worn.  Blazers had not then been introduced.  “Naturally,” says Mr. King, “the rugger types had to put up with a certain amount of scorn from the Soccer enthusiasts, but that only spurred them on to greater efforts.”

There were no Organised Games in the School Time Table at this time.  All practices were held at 4.00pm; and, generally, only boys keen to learn the game and aspirants for team places turned out for these practices.  Changing accommodation was very limited.  The only place available was the Gym Changing Room, now A 1, with wash hand basins – cold water only – next door in what is now the Rifle store room.  But this was all that was expected in those days, and was accepted cheerfully by boys and Masters, because it was many years later before hot water was installed for washing.  When Masters turned out to play, and they did later in order to strengthen the School XV when the Fixture list grew and included Club “A” sides, their only washing facility was a handbasin in the lavatory off the Old Hall.

However, in spite of somewhat primitive facilities, a keen spirit prevailed; practices continued and two teams were formed.  Fixtures had been made and so matches had to be played.  In the School Mag. Dec., 1922, appeared the following: “The newly formed Rugger Club is now in full swing and although results of matches are not very successful, the spirit of the team is most enthusiastic.  The teams against which the School have been matched have been much heavier and far more experienced in the finer points of the game.

            Nov. 23 v Barnet:  1st lost 33-0.  2nd lost 5-3.

            Nov. 30 v Barnet:  1st lost 34-5.  2nd lost 10-0.

                        (This is Queen Elizabeth School, Barnet).

            Dec. 6 v Mill Hill 3rd: 1st lost 56-0.”

This last defeat was remembered for some time, but later was wiped out when the 1st XV continued to beat Mill Hill 3rd XV.  But in spite of easy wins, the School was never given a higher side to play.  With the advent of the War, Mill Hill School was evacuated to the North and fixtures were never renewed in spite of efforts on our side.  The fixture with Queen Elizabeth continued with all teams until the War and were resumed afterwards, but later lapsed.

In spite of these heavy defeats, the game continued to develop and the perseverance and fighting spirit of the players did not pass unnoticed.  In the Magazine, Feb. 1922, appeared: “The game was introduced last year as an experiment, but this year it has been decided to make it a definite part of our athletic life.  Two matches, one with Harrow Rugby Club and one with Southend High School” (we know it now as Westcliff) “have already been arranged for next term, and others will shortly be announced.  Good luck to the Rugger enthusiasts!  May their efforts increase the athletic prestige of the H.C.S.”  These early pioneers of rugger in the School laid a sound foundation on which their successors continued to build, and build well.

No further mention is made of the Southend game, but the one against Harrow “A” was lost by 26-3, and against the “A” team of Borough Road Training College by 45-3.  It is reported that the opponents in both games were much heavier than the Schools, but satisfaction was gained in that the School registered scores in each game.  It is worth noting that, in these times and for many years later, in fact until the outbreak of War, the personel of the 1st XV came chiefly from Forms V, very few from Form VI, where there was only a small number of pupils.  The majority of boys left School when they had gained their General Certificate as it was then called, and this was in Form V when they were under sixteen years of age.  Remember too, there was no form I; Form II was the bottom Form.  So the complaint of weighty opponents would be justified.

At the end of season 1922-23, the first Rugby colours were awarded to R. S. King, Siggers, Graeme and Morris.  Siggers has a further distinction in that he was the first rugger casualty – a dislocated shoulder.

Evidently, the game was taking a hold and causing a little disquietude.  In the Mag. Nov. 1923, one reads that: “The Junior Debating and Literary Society had as one of its four debates: ‘That in the opinion of this house, Association Football should be the prominent game in the School’.  Ayes 66, Noes 25.  Opposed by Nyburg and Mitchell.”  A year or two later, Nyburg was a very useful and powerful Centre.

In the year 1923-24 the 1st XV’s fixture list grew and one reads of narrow and sometimes unlucky defeats, but as yet, no victories, although one is registered by the Middle school XV against Watford Grammar by the narrowest of margins 9-8.  “May this be the forerunner of better times.”  And then appears a real piece of optimism, especially at such an early stage.  “Is it too much to hope that some day the role of heroes who wear the famous white jerseys with the rose of England against the barbarous Celts of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, should contain the name of one of whom it should be written that he has learned his rugger at H.C.S.?”  But the first victory was soon to come, for the report of January, 1924 says, “In a return game at home, the 1st XV spoilt the Haberdashers’ run of victories by a win of 8-0.”  And in the same edition is the first mention of a Junior XV who beat Haberdashers and Watford Grammar.  Further encouragement comes from the statement: “In the Christmas vacation, Rod Graeme, the Rugger Captain played on the wing for a Public school XV at Edgware, where he distinguished himself by scoring a try.”  These successes are used as inducements in the hope that boys will continue to turn out more frequently to practice after School.

In February 1924, with less than two years of rugger, appear reports of House Rugger Matches when Preston Second XV beat Northwick 8-6, and Kenton 2nd XV lost to Welldon 6-23.  At the end of the season Welldon and Kenton had tied for first place.

The 1st XV had several successes during this season, including wins against Rutlish and Christ’s College, Blackheath.  It appears that these successes were due to a marked improvement at practices and the encouraging cheers of the Saturday afternoon spectators.  Saturday afternoon spectators!  Today, very few turn up on a Saturday morning.

The season 1923-24 saw the first Past v Present match.  It was a heavy side that beat the School by 3-0 in the last minute of the game.  Mr. King tells me that this last minute had, according to the referee, Mr. Turner, run into extra time when the referee was waiting for an infringement in order to whistle “No Side”.

1923-24 was Mr. Turner’s second and last year at School.  In the July he left to take up an appointment in India.  But he left a fine memorial behind him.  He left Rugger in a very healthy state.  All who knew him held him in high esteem.  The general verdict was “He was a grand chap”.  Tribute is paid to him in the November Mag.: “To him we owe everything, and only those who play Rugger can realize how great that “everything” is.  Who of us will not remember, with a smile, our first trip to Westcliff, or to Kingston, or our happy trips to see big matches at Twickenham or Richmond when Mr. Turner was the life of the party?  He gave unstintingly of his time and energy to ensure that we had a good time, playing the grand game.”

Those early years had been troublesome in the way that all succeeding years have been.  The Spring Term invariously brings patches of bad weather, so causing cancellation of matches.  February 1925 was no exception.  The School ground was unfit for some time and home matches, instead of being cancelled or postponed, were played away, at extra expense, of course.  In those days, all travel was done by train, and even then, for boys, it was not cheap.  Boys paid the full charge themselves, there was no School subsidy until a few years later.  They also had to buy their own match jerseys, costing 6/6d., and provide themselves with practice match jerseys.  To meet these additional traveling expenses, the first Rugger Dance was organized and it proved to be a tremendous success.

Travelling to Away games was quite a business.  All these journeys were made by train.  To get to Tottenham meant journeying first to Liverpool Street Station, then by local line to White Hart Lane – not at all a pleasant trip.  And since all games were played in the afternoon, the whole of Saturday was practically taken up.  We entrained at about 9.00a.m. at South Harrow, which was then the terminus of the District Line; traveled to Liverpool Street, calling at all stations; walked to Fenchurch Street, where we took the train to Southend.  Usually we arrived back home at around 8.00p.m. after rather tedious travel.  Today, of course, most journeys are comparatively short, by ,motor coach.  Games have been played in the mornings since the early 1930s and all are usually back home for lunch, with the afternoon free.

Concerning the season 1924-25, March Rugby Notes say:  “We have had a very successful season.  Our results are extremely gratifying, but, above all, the happy spirit of comradeship evinced by our players and Masters will ever give us cause to remember Season 1924-25 as a most enjoyable one.  We have attained many of our aims.  We have beaten Mill Hill.  We have gained a better understanding of our comrades and Masters in School through the medium of Rugger.”

1925-26 brought with it better changing accommodation.  On May 23rd, 1925, the Pavilion was opened by Lady Goss.  It may interest boys of today to learn that this Pavilion was built through the efforts of their predecessors.  For some years previously, many schemes were introduced to raise money to finance the building, just as boys of later generations raised the money to build the Swimming Pool.  The Pavilion provided ample room for changing, but the hot water supply was not all that it could be.  So late arrivals in the bath often found only cold water.  In the Magazine, January 1927, there is a note:  "At a recent rugger practice, two clever boys of Form VI boiled some water to wash with in the tea urn."

One particular match sticks in the memory.  The School played a team of hospital students. "Guy's Nomads".  the field was in a very bad condition, just thick, heavy mud.  After the game, when it was impossible to tell friend from foe, the boys hurriedly got to the bath, and when the more leisurely visitors went for theirs, all they found was cold water, and only a trickle at that.  They were not at all pleased and swore they would never come to Harrow again.  And they never did.

Some interesting domestic games were played in those early days.  Soccer and Rugger were being played side by side, so the Soccer boys played the Rugby XV at Rugger and were beaten 13-0.  In this match Welch scored a try.  This is Mr. E. Welch who has been a prominent member of the Old Gaytonians Dramatic Society for many years.  For the Soccer XV, Regan was complimented on his "touch finding".  Later, Regan became a useful Full Back in the First XV.  He now conducts the Cricket School in South Harrow.  A few weeks afterwards the Soccer XI had their revenge when they beat a Rugger XI at Soccer 10-0.  This would be the last season of School Soccer.  The School then turned over completely to Rugby.  At this time there was increased interest in Rugger and inter Form games were popular.  In the Form league there were some rather formidable scores.  IIIA 0  v IIIB 60.  IVA 45 v IIIA 0.  For a few years a very popular match was the Staff Match.  The Staff then was about half the number of today's staff, and among them were a number of fairly active men.  Mr. Brister was one.  At that time he was a very good soccer player, so he played as Full Back for the Staff, who made up the XV with some outside help.  A local Doctor played for a couple of years.  On one occasion, Mr. Turner, who has returned from India and was on a visit to School, turned out on the Wing.  Unfortunately, it was not possible to continue these games.  Men were getting older and it was not reasonable to expect them to turn out once a year against a team of trained and fit boys.  However, while they lasted, they were most enjoyable and the scores were always low.  But the boys always won.

An interesting feature appeared in the School Magazine at the end of each season and was continued for many years.  Rugger "Who's Who".  One also appeared for Cricket.  It consisted of short comments on each player, pointing out his strong and weak points.  It will interest those who know him to see the comment on Jack Shepherd, who has been chairman of the Old Gaytonian's Rugby Club for several years.  "In defence he is better than in attack, being rather light to make any impression on the enemy."  What changes time does effect!

In the November, 1929, Magazine appears the first news of Old Boys in 1st Class Rugger.  Gerry Gowar played for Birkenhead Park, and later had a trial for Cheshire.  A couple of years later, Gower presented the School Library with a copy of "Rugger," by W. W. Wakefield and H. J. Marshall, E. K. Corbes was playing regularly for Wasps 1st XV as Fly Half and did so for some years.  He was the first Old Boy to gain a County Cap when he played for Warwickshire.  In recent years, Peter Mettler was a regular Fly Half for Wasps, and D. Sherriff, M. Foxwell and A. Coxon have played for Middlesex R. U. 2nd XV.

Until 1927-28, all Rugger had been played on the School field, and then, through the efforts of the Headmaster, Northwick Park Golf Club, now extinct, very kindly allowed us the use of a ground adjoining the Golf Links - the ground where now stands the Harrow Technical College.  Here we had two pitches.  Unfortunately, a footpath ran across them.  Generally, people out walking would just make a detour if a game was in progress.  But, occasionally the odd one would persist in walking through the players, and so all would take a breather until this odd person was clear.  At this time, the Wasps Club was expanding and they sought permission to use one of these pitches for a Junior Side; and we were able to help them, as we did again after the War, when we allowed them the use of a pitch at Watford Road, where they played for 3-4 years.  In return the Club presented the School with a handsome cup for House Competition.  This ground was used until 1932 when the Peterborough field became ours.  Here again, we had two pitches, heavy and wet in bad weather.  Later, they were mole-drained and improved.  With the outbreak of War, one pitch was taken for "Allotments", and a trench was dug diagonally across the field from the pavilion to the opposite corner to prevent enemy aircraft from landing!  After the War, the Allotment holders left; the ground was made ready for games and the trench was refilled, and the two pitches were in use again.  Recently the top one was taken over by Heathfield Girls' School.

For many years the School roll had been increasing, especially since the War, and playing space was inadequate.  This lack of playing field accommodation was general with many local Schools, so the County acquired the Golf Links and adjoining fields to meet this need.  As yet, the ground has not been laid out for playing purposes, but in January, 1947, we were given four pitches on what was, pre-war. the Harrow R. F. C. ground, in the Watford Road, and there we are today, but sadly lacking dressing accommodation on the spot.  This lack of accommodation was noted by the Parents' Union, who took up the matter with the Middlesex C. C. and asked for some simple shelter where to hang clothes.  After much badgering on the part of one or two officials from the Parents' Union, there suddenly appeared in the field between the Ducker and our rugby field, and a long way from the nearest pitch, a large three-sided wooden erection on a concrete base.  This, we then learned, was ours; a depository for clothes during games.  Being so far removed and without a single clothes peg, it has never been used.  The ground adjoining this building has recently been ploughed and harrowed and, it is understood, will be for our use when completely prepared.

Up to the early Thirties there was not a large number of rugger playing Schools within easy reach an so the fixture list was not so full as it is today.  It was the custom then to play each School Home and Away.  Today, now that so many Schools play the game, more School scan be met, since they are played only once a season, Home one year. and Away the next.  So lack of Match experience caused a few grumbles.  There were complaints, too, of lack of support on the touch line.  It is interesting to note that on Sports Day, 1932, a special prize was awarded to a lad Gigney, for his "constant, unflagging support of School games.  Gigney had not missed one Rugger or Cricket match this year."  Gigney was a cripple; wore irons on both legs.  Fortunately, now, he does without them.

As the game continued to thrive and the number of players rapidly increased, the Staff was augmented and among the new Masters were some rugger players.  One of the earliest was Mr. Webb, who immediately became actively interested and successfully coached the junior XV.  Some years later, 1937, he took charge of the 1st and 2ns XVs when he was assisted by Mr. R. S. King. who had recently joined the Staff.  Mr. Webb joined the Harrow Rugger Club and continued to play long after the age when most men give up.   Until the formation of the Old Boys' Club in 1934, the School leavers were encouraged to join Harrow, where they continued to receive advice and guidance from Mr. Webb.  Other Masters who helped and will be remembered by old Boys, were Messrs. F. T.Turner, Brewin, Ridley, Armstrong, Robinson and Webber.  These were with us pre-war.  Since that time, others have come and gone, many leaving their mark.   Today, we are fortunate to have a band of enthusiastic young men who are continuing the work others began.  Each School XV this year has its own coach.

The result of this coaching over the years has been most noticeable in the standard of play in House Matches.  Quoting from May, 1932, Magazine, "In the early years, House Matches were miserable affairs, the brunt of the work being borne by 1st and 2nd team players, and many of these had to leave the field in a damaged condition caused by inexperienced players ... Often teams turned out three or four short.  But now, there are plenty of players to choose from."  During the past few yeas, House Matches have reached a reasonably high standard.  Each House can turn out strong XVs, Senior and Junior, and the results of the latter count in the Cock House competition.

An important event, closely associated with School Rugger, took place in 1934, when the Old Boys' Rugby Football Club was formed.  Their first game was against the School XV strengthened by Messrs. Webb, Brewin and Ridley, and refereed by Sir Wavell Wakefield.   O. G.s won 15-0.  Before the formation of the Club, for many years, on the second Saturday in December, this being the occasion of the O.G.'s reunion, the School 1st and 2nd XVs played the O.G.s, who, as hosts, later entertained the boys to tea.  Then the O.G.'s Dramatic Society gave a performance to a packed, sometimes noisy, but always good-hearted audience on the Old Hall.  The play was usually a comedy suited to the occasion.  The evening ended with coffee and talk in the Scout Hut.

So the game and things in general continued quietly.  in 1938, the foundations of the New Wing were laid down, and building commenced.  The area of the School field was cut down.  In 1939 came the War and an upset of most things.  Very few School Matches were played.  In 1940, all matches were cancelled, though efforts were made to play House and Form matches.  In 1942, School Matches were resumed but travelling was kept down.  we played and beat Harrow School 9-5, the first win for many years.  Three games were played against the R.A.F., Northolt.  The boys put up good performances against heavy and experienced players.  In the first game, which was lost 6-17, were a couple of Rugby League players, part of a heavy pack with powerful Wing forwards.  The second game was won 9-7 and the third 31-8 when "our threes overwhelmed their opposite numbers by their extremely bewildering and effective movements."  At about this time, boys tended to stay longer at School and so the 1st XV consisted of older boys who could put up a stout fight against the R.A.F. XV.  By 1944, things were more or less normal as far as School rugger was concerned, and the game was in a very healthy state; the fixture list the fullest since pre-war days with keen and exciting matches.

On 22nd January, 1947, the Watford Road Ground was officially opened with a game against Merchant Taylors, who won an exciting game by 13-9.  On the same afternoon, in the Art Room, now the Common Room, the Inaugural meeting of what was to be the London and Home Counties Schools R.F.U. was held.  The first moves in this matter were by Dr. Simpson and Mr. Jack Shepherd, who first had ideas of forming a Middlesex Schools' Union.  There were not enough rugger Schools in Middlesex at the time and so the net was cast wider.  The chairman was Sir Wavell Wakefield, supported by Mr. W. C. Ramsay, both of whom later became Presidents of the Rugby Union.  Sir Wavell gave the meeting his blessing and left the Schoolmasters who came from Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, Essex and Herts. to get on with the job.  One of the objects of the Union was to promote representative games.  In the following season, 47-48, Inter County games were played, followed by the North of the Thames - Middlesex, Essex and Herts., against the South - Surrey and Kent.  The London XV was chosen after this match.  In the first London XV that beat Gloucester Schools in a game on Kingsholm, we had two representatives - P. Hollidge and C. James.  Hollidge had earlier Captained the Middlesex Grammar Schools' XV, as he did again the following year.  In the Middlesex XV we had four players, three of whom played for the North of the Thames, and one of these, Styles, played for the Middlesex Public Schools as wing forward.

The end of the 1947-48 season brought with it the retirement of Mr. Webb from active rugger and a highly deserved tribute appeared in the School Magazine.  "The School has lost an excellent coach now that Mr. Webb has retired from active rugger.  For more than twenty years he has devoted himself to developing the game in School and fortunate were the boys who came under his influence.  He can feel proud of his efforts, and can leave the game knowing that he has done much to put this School in a strong position in the rugger world.  The Schooll is greatly indebted to Mr. Webb for his services and feels confident that his interest in the School's rugger future will remain."

Mr. Mees followed Mr. Webb as Master i/c Rugby and performed the duties of organiser and coach with great enthusiasm and success for a couple of years until he was forced through trouble with his back to hand over to Mr. Mervyn Morgans, who joined the staff in September, 1948.  Soon Mr. Mees was back to devote his energy and knowledge to the Under 15s.  He is still coaching this group, each year producing a very useful and knowledgeable team, so laying sound foundations for later 1st XVs.

Mr. Morgans, a welshman, who demanded, and got, precise mechanical movements in the fundamentals - essential to good three-quarters.  He put in a lot of hard work and in the four years that he spent at School produced some very fine players.  Most mornings, when the ground was fit, would find him with boys on the field before morning School.  He was rewarded for his efforts and left a complete back division for his successor, Mr. Gerwyn Williams, Welsh International Full Back, who came to us in 1952.

Mr. Williams had to find a pack of forwards, drill them, which he did most ably and quietly (he never raised his voice) and weld backs and forwards into a team.  How successful he was, was shown by the results of the season.  The first XV was undefeated in 20 games, winning 17 and drawng 3, with 340 points For, Against 37.   The last match, played on the wasps Ground, was against an undefeated team from King Edward VI School, Aston, coached by another former Welsh International, Mr. Watcyn Thomas.  The result - Draw - no score.

The yeas 1951-53 were outstanding in that we had the distinction of having a large number of players in representative games.  In 1951-2  G. Norman was our first Schoolboy International, playing for the English Boys against the Welsh and French Boys.   In the following year D. V. Maddock gained this distinction and was Pack Leader in the two games.  Norman and Wells were reserves for these games.  1952-3 saw eight boys in the Middlesex Grammar Schools XV against Essex, later two others played.

There is no easy entrance to the Public Schools XV, yet in 1951-2 Norman, Tapper and Maddock were chosen, as they were again the following year together with Wells.   Since leaving School, Norman, Tapper and Wells have all played for the Wasps; and this season, 1957-58, Roy Tapper played for Berkshire in the County Championship games.

Mr. G. Williams left in 1954 to go to Whitgift School.  He was followed by Mr. Glyn John, another Welsh International, who stayed for only a year and was succeeded by Mr. G. Underwood.

Mr. Underwood had to build a team around five Old Colours.  Hard work, drive and cheerful enthusiasm brought success.  Hard work meant weekly practices, lunch hour drills and further Circuit Training at 4p.m. in the Gym.  All this turned out a physically fit team and seven players gained places in the Middlesex Senior Colts XV.

This season, 1957-8, has produced another good and well-balanced team who, to date have lost only three games by narrow margins, including one against the heavy R.A.F. Halton Station Apprentices XV, a heavy lot of boys up to 19 years of age.  Again, the Schooll has done well in representative games - seven players have been chosen for the Senior Colts, six for the North XV and one, B. A. Higgs for the London XV, which will play a team from the South and South West of England.  This game is an English semi-final Trial.  The XV chosen after this game will meet one, chosen from the Midlands and the North, in the Final Trial.  D. Ridley played for the Public Schools.

The Under 15s throughout the years have maintained a good standard of rugger and have succeeded in getting reasonable numbers into representative teams.  This year, 1957-8, five have played for the County Colts, amd one, C. Bewick, was chosen for the North of the Thames XV.

The play of all School teams this season has reached quite a high standard.  The 1st, 2nd and 3rd XVs all play attractive rugger, constructive and fast.  The backs are all very speedy and the forwards on all possible occasions will open up the game.  The 1st XV can call on reliable reserves when necessary.  The position, today, is a happy one for Mr. Underwood.  The 1st XV does not pick itself automatically.  A player has to maintain his form otherwise he finds his position filled by another, as one or two have already discovered.  A similar position exists with the three junior teams.

At the end of 1950-51 season, Mr. Mees and Mr. Morgans organised a Tour for the two junior teams in Gloucestershire where they played Marling School and Lydnet Grammar.  Each year, since, similar Tours have been arranged.  In 1952 and 1953 the 1st and 2nd XVs travelled, and in the following years the 1st and Under XVs.  Each year up to 1956 the journeys have been to South Wales, where they have played Howard Gardens, St. Illtyd's in Cardiff, Caerphilly, Penarth, Port Talbot, Llanelly and Newport High.  Over the years the boys have had opportunities to visit a pottery, coal mine and the huge modern steel works at Port Talbot.  During these Tours, they have made their H.Q.s at the Malt House, Wick, near Bridgend, a very suitable place for such occasions, with its large dining and games room and dormitories.  In 1957, The Tour was to Leicester, and then on to Coventry to see the Schoolboy International, English v French Boys.  This year, 1958, a much more ambitious journey is being undertaken by coach to Southern France to play at Cahors and Perpignan.  Thanks to the efforts of Messrs. Underwood, Mees and Johns, together with magnificent unsolicited help from Col. Bigham, who has been responsible for a Christmas Draw, Jumble Sale, and this Brochure, the party will enjoy twelve days abroad at no great cost.

The foundations of good rugger, as with all games, are laid in the early years, so that, later, in the senior teams, players can be expected to develop the finer points of the game and to play hard and attractive rugger from which they will derive much enjoyment.  It must not be forgotten that  first principles are taught during Form games.  Here the boys are graded into four sets, with promotion and demotion operating constantly, so that boys find themselves with fellows of their own capabilities and physique, as far as is possible.  Thus graded, and once the pattern of the game has been understood, Form games reach variable but enjoyable standards.

So School rugger goes on from year to year.  To the Coach, one year is similar to another, but each brings its own particular problems as to how departing players' positions can be filled.  The outlook may seem pretty dismal at first sight, but trials and discussions find the solutions, because solutions have to be found in one way or another.  So teams are chosen; matches played; and some idea as to how the team will shape begins to dawn.  It may be dull, fair or bright.  But there is never a dull moment.

Alec Amos - 1958

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