Killerton Sports - Malc Greenhalgh
I decided to put this into three sections as a response to Vijay’s contribution.
1.The Talented and Gifted
2.Memorable matches and moments
3.My Killerton Teams
My contribution is based on what I saw on the unique playing fields at Killerton. There will be some who deserve mention and inclusion but unless they’ve been recommended by others I can’t include because I wasn’t there to see them in their prime. Apologies to those who represented Killerton teams before ‘72 or came after’ 75.
1.Gifted and Talented
There were many. Some knew they were good, others thought they were good and some could have been great with a little more dedication and application.
To begin with the best. Robert Lewis – Lukey to some – always Robert to me because we came to St Luke’s together - two of 12 St Lukes students from Gowerton Grammar School - it was a school tradition. Robert had a tough time settling at Clystlands and was rescued during the third week after assurances to Nation that he would be a useful addition to the house and would help with the tennis. (He was a Welsh International and a Nestle British Schools finalist).
Easily the most naturally gifted and could play any ball game. He had the sweetest left foot and if he’d been 3ins taller and 2 yards quicker would have been a Welsh International (he was better than Gareth Davies who played for Wales and played against us when at Gwendraeth Grammar School).
The college team realised how good he was – eventually – and he did turn out for the first team – including against Llanelli in a traditional Easter Monday fixture – a Llanelli team with 10 British Lions. Although he missed a couple of touches I can still see him bringing Tommy David down by his ankles…just.
You had no chance against him at any racket sport, though I did beat him once at table tennis – after trying for 2 years (should mention he always played left handed against me to make it competitive).
On the rugby front Dai Griffiths could have been a star. He was easily the best scrum-half in college, a problem position for every St Lukes team that I saw. Dai could have filled that spot with ease. He came to St Luke's from the depths of Pembrokeshire and struggled to cope with the freedoms and self-discipline of a PE student at the top Sports College. If he’d spent as much time in the gym as the bar he would have been sensational. The only person I suggest ever to drink 12 pints, followed by 8 shorts and play a football match one hour later … and score twice.
Tim Cottle …similar. Huge potential but temperamental. Could have played for the College first team but was not happy with treatment at pre-season training camp. When he played for Killerton his presence had a massive impact on the team and raised confidence. When he wasn’t playing – and there were lots of reasons – he would prowl the touchline grumbling.
Pete Fielden was the most dynamic Killerton player. Abrasive, determined, busy. He was a handful for most teams. Very powerful in the loose and difficult to stop in the open, low centre of gravity, mobile and confrontational. He enjoyed the physicality of the sport and contact. Another whose presence had an immeadiate impact on the team and performance. Could have gone far but passed the genes on to his kids – with one son climbing the ranks with Bedford I’m told.
Jeff Rees also deserves a mention. Probably the fastest wing forward in College, he could easily have played on the wing but wings tend to avoid contact and trouble than actively go looking for – or provoking it. Surprisingly strong and wiry, he was just as effective as a creator and scorer of tries or a destroyer of opposition players – often accompanied by a sharp dig as a welcome. Strange really for someone from the same village Barry John and Carwyn James.
Probably the most talented group of sportsmen were the 73 starters, especially the footballers in that cohort. At least three played in the Western League for the College first team and were amongst the most dedicated sports people in Hall. John Morgan, Alan Simpson and Johnny Robinson had real quality with Steve Taylor also a model sports student and genuine sportsman.
Alan Hall from Penarth also fancied himself as a footballer but chose Hockey instead as his first sport. Another very talented ball player – outstanding hockey player, good footballer and sound, but unspectacular wicketkeeper/bat. Alan was a Welsh international hockey player (I didn’t know anyone played in Wales ‘till I met Alan) and played for the College first team – they were easily the most successful sports team at St Luke's and one of the best teams in the whole country during the period. Many of them left to play for top clubs and represent Great Britain.
As for cricket there were a number of outstanding players. Brian Pinner was an exceptional bat and played for Worcestershire at a number of age-group levels. Ralph Bates was quickish on the right track. Classic high, side-on action and ridiculously long run up, he could be a handful on quick wickets. But these were rare in Devon, especially Killerton where the wicket was basically a sponge that took most of the pace off a ball. On Killerton wickets you had to think. Because the ground was surrounded with trees the atmosphere was usually quite moist, and humid, with the right action and attention to the ball you could make the ball swing like a banana – away in the air, then cut back off the spongy track. You only needed to hold the ball properly and run up off 4-5 steps.
Jem Edwards played for the MCC and always looked good and stylish. (Public school coached straight out of the MCC coaching book). He was the same off the field.
Others who deserve a mention include Rog Shipp, Pat Barrett, Neil Blewett, Stuart Leech, Budgie Parker, Dave Halford, Ade Wotton, Alan Thomas, Bob Harris and Baz Chipp. These were the heart of every Killerton team. Not flash, perhaps not the most gifted but always totally committed to the Killerton cause. Killerton came first – not college. Many of them could have played for college teams but Killerton was more important. They never grumbled, would play anywhere when needed and put their bodies on the line. They looked after each other.
2. Memorable matches and moments
a) Playing Weymouth College away. When we got there they had plastered posters around the college announcing
Weymouth College 1st XV V St Luke’s College 1st XV
We were somewhat taken aback. A large crowd did gather along the touchline and we won comfortably in the end 34-12. Punchy Rees scored three tries. The team that day (picture in the gallery) was in my opinion the strongest team Killerton put out during my years there.
b) Harry Dicks, prop for the College first team and Hampshire brought a team From Clystlands out. Dai Griffiths and Dave O’Mahoney were magnificent. We won 19-6 and Harry wasn’t happy!
c) A week in November 72 when we scored 100 points in one week against Exeter University and Cullompton. Jack bought everyone a pint.
Weymouth College – again. Tim Cottle charge down the slight slope from Budlake end like a runaway rhino and frightened the life out of the Weymouth batsmen. Cott took 7 for next to nothing and laughed all the way back to the bar with the match over in less than two hours.
Pontarddulais Male Voice Choir. This is an unusual one. The choir is very much the Manchester United of Welsh Male voice choirs (16 times National Eisteddfod winners). They were en-route to sing at Truro Cathedral. The ‘bad eggs’, younger, sporty members of the choir (average age 40+) thought they’d like to stop at Killerton and challenge us to cricket match (they have a number of cricketers in their ranks) and then sing for the village, Sir Richard, invited guests and others in the evening.
The Killerton team selected is a mixture of 3rd years who have never represented the house –but would like to, various Welsh house members (mixed ability) and a couple of goodish players. To make things more even we decide that bowlers will bat and batters will bowl – the batting order is reversed. In some cases those who weren’t very good at either would get a chance to do both.
Pontarddulais Male Voice Choir 162 all out Killerton 148 all out
Memorable moments during the match
- Pete Fielden hat-trick to clean up the tail
- Umpires being supplied with ale throughout the match
- Horace unluckily run- out at the non-striker end, backing up too far off a deflected straight drive to end the match.
- Choir phone home , the press, radio stations to report they’ve just beaten St Luke’s College 1st XI
After match –Special Concert, memorable with the audience stunned.The singing is special – the formal and informal late into the night. Horace makes a recording which is in great demand around the House.
Drinking ‘till dawn.
Paul Nation, Milko, Snowy and others easily influenced, dressed in cricket whites going around Exeter High Street into stores asking people if they’d seen a shiny red ball lying around.
“They said hit it hard! So I did!”
3 My Killerton Teams
15. Dave O’Mahoney (from Hayle steady as a rock , kick like a mule, powerful and humble)
14. Jem Edwards (Strong and intelligent a dangerous runner)
13. Malcolm Withers (Good hands, quick feet and solid in defence)
12. Pat Barrett (Brave, good decision maker, eye for the break)
11. Neil Blewitt ( Borzov – great in a straight line )
10. RW Lewis (captain , decision maker)
9. Dai Griffiths ( Impressive all round game kick, run and pass)
8. Dave Uden (quiet, effective under valued)
7. Baz Chipp (magnificent tackler, fast, mobile)
6. Jeff Rees ( bloody nuisance ….everywhere)
5. Roger Shipp (won’t grumble about not playing No8)
4. Tim Cottle (powerhouse and pack leader)
3. Gary Page (normally hooker but can hold this end up)
2. Pete Fielden (all round dynamism and excellence)
1. Stuart Leech (no-fuss, solid, dependable another rock on and off the field)
Bench - Backs Dave Halford, Brian Pinner (will play if Griffiths isn’t sober) Alan Thomas
Forwards Budgie Parker, Ade Wotton, John Brand, Bob Harris (sorry Bob lots of scrum halves but too good and tough enough to play in the back-row)
1 JB Davies
2 John Robinson
3 Brian Pinner
4 Jem Edwards
5 Pete Bradbury (highly recommended by V.Daswani)
6 Alan Hall (Wk)
7 RW Lewis (wont play much but will get quick 30/40 when most needed)
8 Nigel Webb (slow left arm spin – or is this my imagination / memory playing tricks?)
9 Tim Cottle (off long run)
10 RL Shipp
11 Ralph Bates
Football – Leave to others more qualified to comment.
Baby-foot …… Keith Derbyshire
Table Tennis ….. RW Lewis
Squash ……….. RL Shipp
Snooker ………. JBD (Dai Griffiths thought he was Terry Griffiths … no chance!)
Boat Race …. Roger Clatworthy (Briefly. Who amazingly managed to last most of the term before moving closer to St Luke’s. He could drink a pint in 2 seconds flat … and be legless after three. Very unusual skill – possibly unique).