Leamington Rugby Football Club

Leamington Rugby Football Club

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At the 1949 AGM, Mr. A.B. Harrison, father of Cliff Harrison was elected as an Honorary Life Member in recognition of his loyal and unobtrusive service to the club since its formation. The Presidency of D.H. Brown, which started in 1931, came to an end and Arthur Ogden was appointed in his place. It was decided that the term of office for President should in future be limited to two years. At the 1950 AGM, Fred Barr was also and rather belatedly elected as an Honorary Life Member in recognition of his long and valuable service to the club. Unfortunately he died a year or so later in 1951.

We commenced our second season at Old Warwick Road with high hopes of improved performances. There were lots of comings and goings on the playing roster: Mike Harbage had gone to India towards the end of the previous season, and Pat Noble, Mac McDarmaid and Peter O'Shea also moved away from the area. But there were plenty of new replacements joining us with Peter Jones becoming the regular scrum-half and Brian Seaton sharing the full-back duties with Fred Thacker. Seaton later moved on to Rugby and played for Warwickshire. Norman Harrison became a regular in the pack.

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1st XV 1949-50 Dr Euan Campbell, G. Booth, John Moreton, John Bennett, John Treneman, Norman Harrison, Jim Wilkinson, Freddie Thacker, Cliff Harrison - Fred Martin, Cecil Bryer, Pip Moore, Bob Hordern, Bill Reading, Peter Jones, Denis Johnson, Gerald Horne.

The opening fixture against Sutton Coldfield was cancelled due to a hard ground and so the season opened with a mid-week game against Lockheed, which was drawn 6-6. A few minutes into the game our skipper Stan Griffiths broke his fibula and was unable to play again until after Christmas. His vice-captain Peter Winters took over from him, but did not have a good time as we won only 3 of the 15 games played up until the New Year, two of which were victories over Old Leamingtonians. Griffiths returned from injury in January and there were significant changes in the side, among them a career change for Fred Thacker who moved into the forwards. Gerald Horne, a recruit from Old Warwickians, David Jennings, Pat Drew and Donald Angus were significant additions to the back line and John Richardson secured a place in the back-row. Like Peter Jones, he was an old boy of Bloxham School near Banbury. Together they influenced a number of their fellow students to follow them to the club when they left the school. As a result, Cliff Carr, Bill Carr, Roger Philpott, Dennis Brooke, Mike Parkin, Tony Grimes, John Barker, Chris Vaughan, Ralph Lawton, Dave Inglesent and Peter Wartnaby were among those that joined and became regular players over the next decade.

Things finally picked up towards the end of the season and we finished with a run of 3 wins, and a draw against Coventry Extras, but overall with 10 wins and 17 defeats it was not a good year. As in the previous season, points were hard to come by and we only achieved double figures twice, with 14 points our highest score and 147 our grand total, which would have been good if we were playing snooker. Apart from an unusually high injury list there were problems with players crying-off without giving good notice or reason and star players coming in and out of the side at the cost of teamwork and morale. When added together these factors resulted in too many changes for the side to be successful.

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An arrangement was made with Arnold Lodge School for us to use their gymnasium for mid-week training during the dark nights of winter. This lasted for nearly 10 years. Bob Butler who was the P.E. master at the school kindly took charge of the training. He was the son of H.J. Butler who was a founder member and our Leamington Courier reporter for many years. Among those who worked with Bob was Randolph Turpin, future world middleweight boxing champion, who was often at our training sessions and practised his body punching on our players to toughen them up! In the photograph on the left he is seen squaring up to Peter Jones. The second XV were captained by Pip Moore and they were badly affected by the constant changes to the first team and their record dipped accordingly. They won only 7 of their 29 games. Dennis Johnson topped their try scorers with 7 touchdowns. The third XV were due to play about a dozen games but only managed only 3, all of which were lost. Of note is that our application form (in line with RFU guidance) required that new players declare that no subscription was owing to any other club and that they had not played Rugby League since their 18th birthday.

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League Tables

Midlands Division » Midlands 2 West (South)

1 Banbury 0
2 Droitwich 0
3 Leamington 0
4 Malvern 0
5 Newbold on Avon 0
6 Nuneaton Old Edwardians 0
7 Old Coventrians 0
8 Old Laurentians 0
9 Old Leamingtonians 0
10 Old Yardleians 0
11 Pinley 0
12 Spartans (Midlands) 0

Last updated Tuesday 17th June, 16:36