Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe - Rugby 1st XV, 1957/58

Back row, left to right: PT (Patrick Thurstan) Tomes 5US (touch judge), RJ (Roger) Collett 6C3, PJ (Peter John van, "Tubby") Blokland 6S2, PJ (Philip) Muller 6M2, A (Alan) Brinn 6S1, CSJ (Charles Stephen Julian, "Steve", "Pongo") Mardell 6C3, JR (Jim, Roland) Barkas 6S1, AW (Arthur) Ralley 5UA, TJ Chenery 6M1
Front row, left to right: JR (John) Bone 6S3, RC (Roy) Jones 6M2, GLS (Gerry) Hickey 6S3, TJ (Terry) Gilder 6S3 (Capt), DW (Derek) Holloman 6S3, CJ (Chris, "Ginger") Cunningham 6S3, RC (Robin, "Bill") Hackett 6S2.

Anything you would like to say about the 1957/58 rugby 1st XV? Please email me at . I've cribbed some of the names and nicknames from Tony Hare's 1956 school website.

From The Wycombiensian, April 1958, p388-390, p393


The School has carried out a big programme of matches, with only a few cancellations for bad weather, and fielded six regular sides besides an occasional fourth fifteen and new boys’ side. No fewer than 165 boys have played for a school team. Our congratulations to R. E. Syrett on gaining a regular place in the England side this season. At school Syrett usually played in the front row of the scrum, and we hope his success will encourage forward play throughout the School.

1st XV [1957/58]

School matches            Won 10, Lost 3

Other matches              Won 2, Lost 1

As at other schools, the beginning of season training was interrupted by Asian flu and injuries, and this loss was reflected in the standard of team-work all through the season. T. J. Gilder has been an excellent and composed captain of an erratic team: he has given the game a lot of thought as well as effort. It has been good to see the clean and smart turn-out of this year’s team. G.L.S. Hickey has been an effective and loyal vice-captain.

We began by losing at Sudbury to Marylebone G.S., where we were outplayed forward partly perhaps through lack of match practice; then we beat Marlow none too decisively but with a much depleted team. At Watford, Gilder’s fine play at full-back on his return from injury gave the team new confidence; D. W. Hollomon, C. J. Cunningham and Hickey were all conspicuous, and J. L.[sic] Bone kicked well to give us a comfortable win. St. Benedict’s proved too weak in defence, and the game at Stowe was scrappy, though H. W. Clark played well at stand-off, and Hollomon’s individual efforts in the centre and good co-operation between the backs and forwards brought another win. A rather similar game was won away against the City of Oxford School.

A very wet home game against Watford was lost by the only try. Our play against an improved side was sadly unimaginative. So changes were now made in an effort to get more aggressive and enterprising play. Gilder came to stand-off and T. J. Chenery to scrum half: Hollomon was officially confirmed as a centre despite his short-comings as a link. Unfortunately the new full-back, W. E. Shackell, was injured at the very beginning of the next game, against Tiffin School at home, but P. J. Blokland deputised well. Despite a lack of cohesion, the forwards got on top after half-time: Hickey and A. Brinn were conspicuous and R. C. Hackett, No. 8, had two tries. Against Emanuel School a strange duel of penalty kicks (3 each) was won at home by 20 pts. to 14. Emanuel had a well-drilled pack and tackled well under pressure. Our forwards tackled and rushed well but rarely heeled quickly. Hollomon had two good tries and Gilder dropped a goal. Abingdon School were weak in defence, but Luton (a new fixture) put up stout opposition despite the early loss of their stand-off. Hickey had no difficulty in dealing with his substitute, and Chenery gave us a fast service. P. J. Muller scored a good try in the centre. The game at Leighton Park was fought really hard by both sides – a great pleasure to watch. With Hollomon and Chenery away, we were perhaps unlucky to lose by a try and two penalties to a try and a penalty.

In the Easter Term, P. D. Fry’s team of young Old Boys included at least three ex-captains in A. G. Duckering, A. J. Gordon and F. E. J. Hawkins. The School found the Old Boys’ midfield triangle hard to hold with Hawkins polished and aggressive and Neil Harris punching repeated holes in a nervous defence. The wings, however, held their men confidently and Gilder covered the gaps which experience had taught him would not be done by the forwards. E. G. Mann, though a one-footed kicker, played very steadily at. full-back. Two good tries by Cunningham just saw us home.

Lazy forwards nearly lost us the, as usual, enjoyable game against a lively Balliol side, but it was won in “ injury time,” or perhaps by special licence, with a grand combined passing movement. Next week, despite much improved forward play and two good tries by R. C. Jones and Muller, the attack got out of gear and we deservedly lost to Jesus College. The last game of the season – a particularly fine one – against Halton Apprentices was played during a steady fall of wet snow. Both sides made a realistic appreciation of what could and what could not be done under such conditions. The whole team played well together and tarnished reputations were restored; one might pick out Mann as steady under heavy pressure at full-back and Chenery as having so good a game against his excellent opposite number of the Halton team. Appropriately enough, Gilder himself dropped the goal and kicked the penalty which gave us a narrow win over Halton’s one try.

A strong and individually clever pack of forwards rose to the heights at times, but were temperamentally a sluggish lot hard to stir into action. R. C. Jones, the hooker, had several excellent games, towards the end of the season, and all through it, was often the first to get across to cover a break-through. A. Brinn usually did good work in the line-out, while his partner in the second row, J. L. Bone made some good place-kicking his. main contribution. P. J. Blokland on the blind side was quick on the loose ball, dribbled well and was always whole-hearted. The leader of the pack and open side “spoiler” was G. L. S. Hickey, a clever handler, now big and rather heavy for this position, but unkind to slow or inexperienced half-backs.

The halves have done very well together. T.J. Gilder himself, by “profession” a full-back, is a fine handler and kicker as well as a most elusive runner. He was always good in defence and sometimes brilliant in attack, but there were other days when he got the line moving too slowly to be effective. P.J. Muller was steady as one centre, and D. W. Hollomon, though often enough careless and inaccurate in his play, has developed great powers of penetration. His kicking in attack and tackling too can be very good. On the right wing Cunningham was most determined and aggressive and got some splendid tries.

On the whole a very good season. It is so easy to criticise: I can only add that I hoped the team enjoyed playing as much as we have enjoyed watching them.         C.M.H[aworth].

The team, all new members of which were awarded their colours, was as follows: E. G. Mann; C.J. Cunningham, P. J. Muller, D. W. Hollomon, J. R. Barkas; T. J. Gilder (Captain), T. J. Chenery; A. W. Ralley, R. C. Jones, C. S. J. Mardell; J. L. Bone, A. Brinn; G. L. S. Hickey (Vice-Captain), R. C. Hackett, P. J. Blokland.

Also played: K. R. Miller, P. J. Holtorp, H. W. Clark, E. C. Franks, R. J. Collett (who appears in the team photograph), S. A. Leader, D. A. Scott-Kiddie, W. E. Shackell, M. D. Packman, A. J. Styles, C. J. Melsom, D. H. Bond.

                                            SUMMARY OF RESULTS
                                                            1st XV [1957/58]
Oct.     5 [1957]St. Marylebone Grammar School        ...         Away   Lost     0          11
            12        Sir William Borlase’s School, Marlow   ...         Home   Won     10        3
            16        Watford Grammar School         ...         ...        Away   Won     16        3
            19        St. Benedict’s School ...           ...         ...         Home   Won     35        0
..          23        Stowe School, 2nd XV             ...         ...         Away   Won     16        6
..          26        City of Oxford School ...         ...          ...          Away   Won     13        3
Nov.    9          Watford Grammar School         ...         ...         Home   Lost     0          3
..          13        Tiffin School     ...         ...         ...         ...         Home   Won     16        3
..          20        Emanuel School            ...         ...        ...         Home   Won     20        14
..          23        Abingdon School          ...         ...         ...         Home   Won     35        3
..          30        Luton Grammar School             ...         ...         Home   Won     12        0
Dec.     7          Leighton Park School               ...         ...         Away   Lost     6          9
Jan.      14        Old Boys (P. D. Fry’s XV)          ...         ...         Home   Won     6          3
Feb.     8          Balliol College ...          ...         ...         ...         Away   Won     17        16
..          15        Jesus College, Oxford               ...        ...        Away   Lost     6          11
..          22        No. 1 School of Technical Training,
                        RAF., Halton    ...         ...         ...         ...        Home   Won     6          3

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