The Grey First XV of 1969 – Finally recorded!

For reasons unknown, the rugby results from 1969 were not included in the school magazine which is most odd! There was due comment made in the rugby section and opinions and brief descriptions appeared on some of the games but a list of the results was not published. This was initially noticed by Syd Dugmore, in his book published in 1979, on the game of rugby played by major schools in the Eastern Province and Border areas. This contribution is intended to fill that gap in Grey rugby history and herewith follows the detail.

The side played 19 games, won 10, lost 7 and drew 2 games. They won their games against Pearson 17/14, Daniel Pienaar 16/9, Alan Wilson of Zimbabwe 14/12, Marist 20/11, Cillie 22/14, Cradock Boys High 22/3, Kingswood 24/13, Muir 11/6, Brandwag 24/3 and Andrew Rabie 17/11. They lost to Gill 8/11, Dale 8/14, St.Andrews 6/17, Jeppe 14/19, Graeme 14/15, Union High 15/20 and Despatch 3/6. The matches against Selborne 6/6 and KES 8/8 were drawn.

It was all-in-all a pretty reasonable side who were unlucky to lose three games by only three points. In that year Union High was unbeaten and St. Andrews had a powerful side. In seeking out this information we are indeed grateful to Peter Scheepers who has been at the forefront of leading his Class of 1969 over the years and who was a primary source of information. But who knew the full results for the season? Graham Read who had kept a scrapbook in his time had it all and for good measure added that the Bodas had “thrashed” the Daypots 14/12! Incidentally, Graham’s brother Alan ‘66 also played EP Craven Week and we wonder how many other sets of brothers have played for this side over the years? Alan was a brilliant centre and went on to play for Western Province and the Junior Springboks.

Graham played for EP Craven Week on the wing that year and other notables in the First XV side included Keith Reid, John Gilbert, Neil Ward, and Dave Tolson together with Clive Bennett and Kim Downing who had been the “babies” of the First XV side in 1967. Keith had actually been selected at Scrumhalf for the EP Carven Week side in 1967 but opted out rather than play soccer for EP! Playing First Team rugby for three years was and is a rarity. In present times this is not possible as with the introduction of the U16 age group this would take up one year of any intended three-year tenure.