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History 3 of 3

3. History 3

Two and sometimes three teams had a successful decade - three more players joined Nottingham - Tony Robinson, Nick Asquith, and Denzil Bowyer. Kevin Douglas played for England U23 team and scored the winning try in two successful Middlesex 7s with Loughborough Students (on television then) against Harlequins. John Pearce played for Midlands/North against Argentina - packing down with Bill Beaumont - and in the Midlands side which had a great victory over Australia.
At this time the club was amongst the first to have regular Easter Tours, with visits to Gloucester, Bournemouth, Teeside, Weston Super Mare, Bath and Cambridge.
In 1979, 32 players took part in a two week tour to the USA, playing four games in Towson (Baltimore), Silver Springs (Washington), West Chester (Philadelphia), and Montclair (New York). accommodation was provided by our convivial hosts in their homes - at each venue there was a party the night before the game, at which only the Mannerians seemed to drink in quantity, and which might account for the less than brilliant performances!! However, the tour was a success, culminating in a return visit to the UK by Montclair in the early 1980s when we beat them - the muddy showground and the freezing conditions being their downfall.

A bit more history, 1980s till the present day.

The early 1980s was a difficult period for the club. The post American tour years saw many club stalwarts retire (except Joe Oldfield, who still won't) and with Lady Manners School rugby going through a lean spell there were few new players challenging for places. Mick Webster started a hugely successful Colts team, but it would be a few years before his young stars would be able to make the step to senior rugby.

This downward spiral culminated in an Extraordinary General Meeting being called in 1987. Old Mannerians of days gone by, together with the few concerned members of the time, met at the Castle to decide whether the club should fold. Nearly 60 years of history was though too important to jettison, and with the Colts conquering all before them it was felt that things should proceed. Having identified that the young blood was the way forward, the club took the novel step of introducing a Youth Team to be the focus of the club. This was based around Mick Webster's Colts and those who had only just got too old for that team. The Youth Team was a merry bunch including players such as Paul Webster, Adam Normington, Steve Donnelly, Pete Hodgkinson, Richard Wild, the Hughes brothers, A.J. Hall, Martin Pearce and Andrew Wint and suddenly the club had the nucleus of a squad that would take it through the next decade.

The introduction of the league system in the 1987-88 season brought a new set of challenges. A further E.G.M. was called, at which it was decided by a narrow margin to replace the word “Old" with the word “Bakewell" in the club's title having been told by a council official that this would help the club get a changing room in the extended Cricket Pavilion. It took a while for Bakewell Mannerians to adjust to league rugby, but bolstered by the recruitment of David Gray from Matlock and the return of the prodigal Denzil Bowyer from Nottingham together with the coaching skills of former England second row Neil Mantell - 1990-01 saw the club take Notts. Lincs. and Derbys. Division 4 by storm.

The 1990s saw probably Mannerians most successful period since the 60s. Promotions followed in 1991-92 and again in 1994-95 with that and league restructuring taking the club to the dizzy heights of N.L.D Division 1. From struggling to field a team at all in the early '80s, the club had a regular 2nd XV and occasionally a 3rd XV.

The down side of the league success was the loss of many of the traditional friendly fixtures; even matches against Matlock did not occur every season and when they did it was invariably a weakened Mannerians team that took to the field, the demands of the league having taken their toll. But in 1999, 90s vintage Mannerians beat Matlock on a memorable occasion that restored the equilibrium between league and traditional fixtures. The legendary Mannerians touring culture has also continued, though not every season, even through the dark periods. Trips to such places as Blackpool, Great Yarmouth, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Antwerp will go down in history if anybody can remember much about them.

Further restructurings seem to have somewhat devalued the whole league system since 2000, and it will be interesting to see how the nature of Bakewell Mannerians rugby continues to evolve in the 21st Century both on and off the field of play.
But we have made a start to ensure the future.
Mini Rugby was re-established in Bakewell on 4th Jan 2004, when 4 teams started training; U7s, U8s, U9s, and U10s. Thiswas expanded to 5 teams in 2004/05 season with the U11s, and it is hoped to add a team or two each year to build a full suite of Mini, Midi, and Junior Rugby.
Honours from this season (2004/05) included the Colts winning the County Cup against Matlock, and the 1st XV being runners-up to Long Eaton in the NLD Plate.
In 2005/6 Mannerians launched 2nd XV ( a vets side to those in the know) and an U12s and U13s team.