Whenever I've been asked about playing rugby in St Luke's, I've always said I played for the College Thirds, knowing that in reality, the side was in fact, the Fifths - following the Firsts, Extra Firsts, Seconds and Extra Seconds!

However, the truth is that we at Killerton did take over the Thirds fixtures as they didn't have enough players to fulfil the fixtures.

It all came about when the St Luke's captain, Alan Jones approached us in Killerton corner one day and asked if we would be interested in taking on some fixtures. Initially we weren't sure if he was serious but after some discussion we decided to accept the challenge.

At Killerton we had been playing quite regularly with some success, and our side had some really good players, from all parts of the nation. We had entered a seven a side team in the College sevens and shocked a few by doing well in the competition. This probably made them realise that we weren't just those long haired mobsters who lived somewhere in the sticks.

Our first game I believe was away in Keynsham. The day of the Saturday game arrived (we normally played on Wednesday or Sunday). The bus arrived at Killerton already carrying the Extra Firsts team. To say that they were somewhat taken aback when they saw us might be an understatement. we received very strange look as Killerton team boarded, including Bob Harris and Jasper Haines complete with headbands, Sean Noe still composing poems, Dave Robins swearing jovially at all and sundry. Most chain smoking Players No10s, or No 6s  – or even Embos - and complaining there was no beer on the coach.

Whereas most of the Extra Firsts were (smartly dressed) PE students, we were a mixed bag, dressed casually and many sporting a large amount of hair. 

At Keynsham we were down to play their Seconds with the Extra Firsts playing their First team. We were given "official" jerseys provided by College, the sky blue shirt that bore no resemblance to our usual red jersey.

We changed in a large dressing room, the Extras on one side, the Killerton boys on the other. It became obvious that this was different for the Extras as not only were bandages being used for strapping but also bandages were being used as bandanas by several to keep the hair out of our eyes! We did get some strange looks. They were also surprised to suddenly be aware of the slight (?) whiff of cigarette smoke coming from our side of the changing room.

I don't think the Extras thought we had a hope as we left the dressing room. The weather was bloody awful and as we lined up before kick off you could see the Keynsham chaps were up for giving these long haired students a good hiding! They were rather large up front but we were certainly up for it.

There weren't too many watching our game initially but before too long, with the Extra Firsts struggling, a good few started to come across to watch us. Needless to say, the boys rose magnificently to the challenge and gave as good as they got, running out winners quite comfortably and scoring some nice tries in difficult conditions.

Back in the dressing rooms there was the usual wind down of a fag sponged from others. There was sheer disbelief on the part of the Extra Firsts captain, a Welshman like me, when I commiserated on their loss and then told him that we had won! He was gob smacked, as were the rest of their team.

In the bar afterwards we had a few beers, coupled with some rugby games (Strong Arm Lifts) and then returned to Killerton.

On Monday morning Alan Jones came to see us and congratulated us and then asked us to continue our fixtures as St Luke's Thirds. I remember we played Torquay Colts when I think Bas captained us to a 60 point win, but the memory isn't what it once was, and details of other games have faded unfortunately.

Our standing in College certainly improved, much to our delight!



A spectator's view of the Keynsham match. 

Some of us followed the coach to Keynsham - mostly to be able to say that we had been to Keynsham - infamous in the days of Radio Luxemburg:  "Keynsham spelt  K E Y N S H A M" 

The weather was indeed atrocious. It was biblical. It was cold, windy, and the rain came down like proverbial stair rods (does anyone use stair rods anymore?). At times the rain was near horizontal!

There was probably 6 or 7 of us on the side-lines watching initially, but as the score rose in our favour, spectators from the adjacent pitch started to look over and then eventually move over. Indeed, by the end of the match I don't think any were still watching the Extra Firsts play.

The spectators were impressed with the play, the level of commitment and the sheer energy of the young Killerton - sorry Luke's 3rd squad. One person still clearly remembers one incident: “it was amazing to watch Jonah Jones. As he was tackled by a Keynsham player he promptly punched him and ran on. It was like something  Wile E. Coyote. Fortunately the punch was on the blind side of the ref." 

In spite of the weather, a great afternoon - though a very soggy drive home.