Sportsman’s Lunch 2015

This year’s Sportsman’s Lunch saw the 30 strong party of OWs, OWRFC President and Captain, plus School 1xt XV fathers (claiming mental fatigue) sipping their drinks in the welcoming Sixth Form Centre at an extraordinary hour due to the early kick-off time of the Whitgift vs. Millfield game.

Over an excellent lunch, Dr Sam Barke (OW 2000-05), the OWRFC Chairman, gave a brief summary of both the School’s and Club’s season to date, and an update on our professional players in the premiership. This wouldn’t have been complete without a mention of our only Rugby World Cup player, Richard Thorpe (OW 1997-2003), who represented Canada but was unable to join us for the lunch, as he was busy captaining the London Welsh side.

Sam also welcomed back four members of the 1965 School 1st XV who had played in this fixture 50 years ago – Hugh Bowden (OW 1959-65), Phil Seear (OW 1959-66), David Masters (OW 1958-66) and Mike Hieatt (OW 1959-66), seen here pictured – left to right – on the sofa. In reply, the Captain Phil Seear said how delighted he was to receive this invitation from the WA and reminisced on the pleasure of his School rugby under coach, Gerwyn Williams. He then surprised us all by proudly displaying his current necktie, rescued from the back of the wardrobe, and explained that it was, in fact, a Millfield rugby tie presented to him by their Captain after the match, as Whitgift had just taken away their season’s undefeated record by winning 12-6. It’s worth noting that it was Chris Saville (OW 1959-67), fly-half, who scored the crucial try for Whitgift (and we don’t mention that Millfield’s future Welsh International Gareth Edwards was injured and did not play!)

Once out on Big Side, installed inside our own viewing area, a fifth member of the 1965 team, Peter Skeen (OW 1958-67) joined his comrades. An open, fast and entertaining match ensued, which led to the better side, Millfield, winning 16-29.

A solid rugby tea fortified our special visitors for their long journeys home, especially David Masters to Holland.

Richard Blundell (OW 1956-63)