Past Players

Chew Valley Old Boys
Peter Townson; Prop forward.

Chapter i

In 1969 man landed on the moon, Ho Chi Minh died and Harry Allen was made redundant. While all this was happening CVOBRFC was born.
A group of lads got together, Stuart Smith, Chris Small, Victor Pritchard……… and started the ball rolling.
So while Harry Allen was looking for a new job the club went slowly from strength to strength.

I joined in the year of our lord 1980; War had broken out in the Persian Gulf as Iraq invaded Iran, no change there then. In the USA the Sioux Indian nation wins $122.5 million and 50 cents compensation and interest for the federal government’s illegal seizure of their lands in 1877; John Lennon is shot dead.
So there I was, having a nice quiet pint in the Yew Tree Pub, it was August, pouring with rain and blowing a gale. I was trying to pick some winners in the paper in front of a roaring log fire. I was just about to order another pint when the door crashed open and in walked these two long haired lads.
The short one had long curly hair and a big black bushy moustache, he looked a bit like Jessie James the American outlaw, the other one was tall, about 6' 12”, his hair was a bit fairer and he had a big nose, I think that was what crashed the door open.
They were Martin Reed and Simon Davis, we started chatting about rugby and they talked me into playing for the club so two weeks later I had lovely new shiny Patrick boots and I was up and running, sort of.

Chapter ii, 3rd XV

I had a phone call from a chap named Dave Rogers, he was picking me up for my first game. Dave was third team captain and a very nice chap.
My first game was up on Failand, we played Old Elizabethans and won and the only person I knew in the side was Steve Ball. We went to the same school in Chew Magna the Sacred Heart Prep School.
After matches we used to drink in the Old School Rooms in the centre of Chew Magna, I used to have a couple of pints then go up to the Yew Tree in Chew Stoke for a game of shove ha’penny. That was until one Saturday after a game, we were in the school rooms when Dave Weaver came in with a chap in a wheelchair whose name I learned was Mick or Mick the Grip as he was called.

I was just about to leave that night when Mick the Grip asked me if I would like a drop of cider, I said “well I have been known to like a drop” and with that about 2 gallons appeared. He had made it himself and apparently it was distilled cider.

Well this stuff was like just pure rocket fuel and I can’t remember much about the rest of the evening apart from a song about a girl called Sally Hawkins, it went something like this:

I first met Sally Hawkins down the Old Kent road
Her drawers were hanging down
She’d been with Charlie Brown
I pushed a grubby tenner in her grubby little hand
For she was a dirty old whore gor blimey

……and so on That’s about as far as I got but it was the start of playing and meeting new friends and getting through a fair few mattresses in my playing career.

Chapter iii the Japanese Years

What always amazed me was the way alcohol affected players after a game. Depending on their playing position I noticed some odd behaviour over the years.

Let’s start with the front row players, props and hookers.
Hookers for some unknown reason could not sing in tune and could never drink more than 8 pints whereupon they would start kissing the props and usually end up talking about fish or plants.
Now then take your props; strong, good looking and quite capable of hitting the 16 pints mark just warming up, in fact just ask yourselves how many roman catholic props do you know that can drink 26 pints approximately and then sing fluent Japanese rugby songs?

Then you have your locks, very similar to hookers but uglier and with bad eyesight. More than capable of drinking about 10 pints but then first fade away and usually end up talking about contact lenses.

Now the back row, totally shot away, their hands, legs and arms are always taped up, you always hear them back chatting to the ref and giving away free kicks and penalties and no good at geography.

Scrum Halves; We have had some great players in this position, Duncan Smith, Peter Woodman and Simon King to mention but a few and very good tour drinkers.

The backs, wingers, full backs; well now we are in the realms of fantasy they are a kind of cult, a mixture of cross dressers, bankers, managers and estate agents, not very religious and they tend to come from Jordan or even Syria.

Chapter iv Rugby Tours
If you have played rugby or just been a supporter you will have probably been on a Tour.

A tour usually takes place around March April time and over the years that I have been involved I have noticed a pattern to the season. Just like migrating birds, players and supporters start to get restless and just after Christmas plans are put together, cash is extracted to pay for hotels and transport and expectation builds about going away for a long weekend to find new watering holes and opposition
Closer to the appointed departure day golf balls are checked, clothes pegs are stowed and tour virgins are blessed and read their last rites.
On three occasions we went west to Ireland the Emerald Isle, these days we meet at the clubhouse at about 08:00hrs for breakfast (no tea) and a nice pint.
The coach would leave at about 12 noon with about 30 to 40 passengers who by that time would have had about 8 pints so by the time we disembarked from the ferry at Cork, well you get my drift.
The most important part of tour is to make sure you share a room with someone who hopefully is an estate agent, someone sensible, not Duncan Soper.
Now Soper and I had both had enough booze, I put him to bed and told him not to open the door to anyone, I locked the door from the inside and we settled down for a nice kip.
At about 03:00hrs things took a turn for the worse, there was a loud knock at the door, Soper stirred and asked “who’s that?” I said “ take no notice, it’s not Little Red Riding Hood”. Then there was a voice from outside saying, in a little old ladies voice “we are the cleaners and we have a deaf parrot”. Yes Mr Soper opened the door and it was not Little Red riding Hood, the door crashed open, next minute my bed was tipped up against the wall and I was wedged between the radiator and the bed, it was as if an SS Panzer division had gone through. As the dust settled I woke to see Soper’s bed was overturned and the rest of the room destroyed. As for the SS that was Steve Hodson and Rob Walsh.

Duncan Soper was never the same after that, he retired from Rugby and public life, he went to live in Jordan where he opened a deaf parrot shop where he still lives today.

Steve Hodson still lives locally with his family in Stanton Drew. He still holds the club’s fried bread eating record.

Rob Walsh is the club treasurer and as I write this he still lives in Carlingcott with his family He holds the club record for having the highest Cholesterol reading of 12.9.

Me, well like the boys above I am also retired from playing I have to sit with the rest of the wheezy boys on the bench with our dodgy bladders, dickey hearts and our sick notes from matron.
I live in South Gloucester, England where I study Hebrew text.

So that’s just a small snippet of touring. I wonder what Charles Darwin would have thought of it all, just imagine when he went to the Galapagos Islands he actually came across a species of deaf parrot, you never know.

Chapter v The future
The future? Well if the next 40 years are as good as the last all you juniors are in for a great time. The mobile phone will be long gone, Morse code will be the future, cars will run on man power just like the Flintstones.
Me? Well I have a little job to do, I have to climb a load of steps and then have a chat with someone called Peter, whether I meet Vic Pritchard is another thing, I mean if he fell off the top of the world once, he’s got no chance of climbing a few steps, we’ll see!
I wonder if Harry Allen ever played this great game.
I could waffle on all day there is so much to tell and apart from the great times there are also the sad times, players and members who have sadly gone;
Eric Pearce
Peter Woodman
Simon King
Paul Carpenter
John Burke
Robert Tonkin
Andy Gilks
George Marsh
Simon Lucas
Robert Martin

P.S. Harry Allen was a public Hangman; he lost his job when the death penalty was abolished in 1969.

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Copyright © Pedro Hebrew, 2009
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