Sportsmans Lunch – Whitgift 1st XV v Cranleigh

This year’s Sportsmans Lunch at the School was held later than usual with Christmas pressures possibly being responsible for the lower than usual attendance.

However an attentive group gathered in the VI form common room to listen over drinks to Dan Webb, the School 2nd XV coach, give an interesting and informative overview of the current healthy state of Whitgift rugby.

Our good lunch followed in the Old Library where our main guest, Headmaster Dr Christopher Barnett on his last appearance with us before “hanging up his mortar-board” treated us to a very special Shakespearian themed (Hamlet was playing in Big School) grace, which with his kind permission is reproduced below.

Our other guests, Peter Wylie-Harris and Nick Meyer, resplendent in their striped Old Cranleighian blazers and matching socks also enjoyed the meal. Nick Meyer, as OCRFC President in thanking us for our hospitality, forecast a Cranleigh win, which unfortunately came to pass in a very spirited and energetic game of marvellous schoolboy rugby which the School lost 3-18 in the last game of term.

Ken Nicholas, former School master and rugby coach, was also with us this year and kept a watchful eye on the game from the touchline wearing his prized Leicester tasselled rugby cap awarded to him by Martin Johnson to mark his playing record at the Club.

OW Richard Blundell

Headmaster’s Grace

In this my twenty-sixth and final year
About to leave what is so dear
I wipe away a heartfelt tear;
Another will soon this great School steer
As into history I disappear.
Enough, to continue in this vein were drear
T’would spoil this splendid meal I fear.
Let’s have a more positive souvenir
Of the sportsman’s lunch, which again is here,
With its haze of champagne, and wine and beer
And golden memories of yester-year.
‘Gainst Cranleigh may we not be cavalier
But play our best and domineer
And find a sporting elixir
To bring us all some Christmas-cheer.
These rhymes might not impress Shakespeare
But they are deeply-felt and most sincere;
So, in this wonderful, Whitgiftian atmosphere
Thank God for this company, great sport and good cheer.

Dr C A Barnett