Rhubarb 2020

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b



T here are photos on the wall of my study at home of my exploits on the rugby pitch and the cricket field at St Edward’s. It’s something I glance at every

clever and a shrewd judge of tactics.’ Actually there was a reason for this.

At that time Joe and I lived within a few miles of each other, and so before the Winter Term started we decided to find somewhere to practise the scrum half/fly half combinations. We found a deserted field and spent hours perfecting the pass and receipt so that when we returned to School we were operating as a true partnership. This bore

day, and recently I realized that 2020 is, unbelievably, the 60th anniversary of our unbeaten Rugby XV’s memorable season. So I thought I would write something about that wonderful achievement. Given the inevitable decline in my memory, I have drawn on extracts from Chris Nathan’s monumental A Sporting History 1863- 2005 , for which I trust he will take due credit. To put this achievement into context, Chris points out that the 1960 team was the first unbeaten Rugby XV in nearly one hundred years, except for the sides of 1872 and 1873 who only played three games and one game respectively! The season recorded 10 wins out of 11, with one match drawn against a strong Wellington side who forced a draw in the final minute. Most satisfying were the defeats of local old rivals Radley, a first fixture against Harrow and especially the win over Oundle who in our era were regarded as the pre-eminent schools’ rugby side in the country. How was this record achieved? Firstly, we were lucky to have nine caps from the previous season, bringing with them the rugby brains and match maturity that saw us through some tricky moments. Secondly, we had not one but two coaching masters, the unforgettable Derek Henderson who always made rugby fun for us and the master tactician Bryan ‘Gusty’ Gale who always made us play to our full potential. Thirdly, I pay credit to our Captain Michael Stanfield, who over two seasons developed an increasing camaraderie which gave us the confidence to overcome all opposition. Every one of my teammates played their part. The pack was described as one of the strongest ever fielded by Teddies and we had two speedy wingers who on many occasions ran rings round their opposite numbers. And the half backs? Modesty forbids me to comment, so I will leave it to Nathan’s description: ‘At half back, the pairing of Roger Hyslop and ‘Joe’ Farrington was arguably the best such combination ever produced at the School, and they got better and better. Hyslop’s delivery of the ball out of the scrum was both fast and long, and Farrington was

By Roger Hyslop (G, 1956-1961)

particular fruit when Derek Henderson taught us a clever move known as the ‘Tanner’, apparently because it had been created years previously by a scrum half of that name. In one home match, with a scrum on the right side of the 25-yard line (we were still in old money then!), I gave the code word to Joe and when the ball was heeled, ran at right angles across the pitch towards the opposite touchline. Instead of passing to the open side, I flung a reverse pass to Joe who had run blindside to receive the pass from me. It was then a simple step for him to draw their left winger and put Chris Dreyfus over for the try! We only managed to use Tanner once that season, but it remains indelibly in my mind to this day. Our 1959 and 1960 seasons gave me not only a lifelong love of rugby but also qualities of determination, teamwork and an absolute refusal ever to submit even in the face of seemingly hopeless odds. Not bad training for life, I’d say.

Scrum half Hyslop clears the ball, watched by Mike Stanfield, Ed Gould and Mike Hart.


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