The Hampstead Rugby Club.

By Bruce "Bomber" Brown

Joining the Hampstead Rugby Club was a source of great enjoyment for myself and many of my Australian Friends.

A friend of mine a fellow Aussie had joined up and encouraged me to join.

I turned up at training one night and was selected in one of the lower teams – I think maybe the fifths and played the following Saturday- It was an interesting experience and while I was not at peak fitness ( a condition I retained  while in London) I did notice a few variations to what I was used to  as prior to arriving in London I had toured New Zealand with the  wallabies and the previous year France and while not a particularly distinguished wallaby I was used to a tighter regime of training and fitness work

In my first game in the fifths I recalled being hit in the head by the ball in the lineout standing behind a very tall player which rather surprised me and  also the captain doing line kicks for what  in my opinion was the wrong sideline which  I thought was unusual.  I obviously thought it would be smarter if possibly I could  play in a higher grade.

Well word got out that I had played at an international level.  I think there was another guy in the club who was claiming international status who had played for Malta.

Anyway I was subsequently picked in the first team which was playing a reasonable standard of rugby with some good players – in particular  I remember Jerry Coade  and Gwyn Howells and a few foreigners from Australia, S.A. and  N.Z such as Mal Turner, Dave Ferguson, John  Newton and Ian Fraser  etc.  – obviously there were many other good players and I remember one of the wingers who we nick named Frosty Reyburn  {excuse the spelling)

Somehow I ended up as captain and I used to enjoy the selection meetings.

I recall the lower grade captains attending selection meetings and trying to retain their better players – we had a lot of laughs with the selectors of the lower grades . Conversations went along the lines of  -“you say this guy should not be promoted to a higher level and he has been scoring 3 tries at least every week “ and so on.

We toured France and again had a lot of fun – I remember one of the English cops in the side was arrested and ended up in a French jail for a minor offence – that got a few laughs.

One of the guys told me this story about how on a previous tour they dropped a dummy off the Eifel tower and had a guy dressed in the same gear on the ground and when the dummy hit the ground they covered it up and a  guy  dressed in the same gear stood up dusted hlmself off  and walked away to the amazement of the gathered crowd     (your research would indicate whether this is true)

The  Club chairman Michael  Flyn, as you would know a real character,  organised a trip to the US and a few games of rugby. We wore   boaters and blazers and had a lot of fun  as usua.l

Included in the trip was a tour to Mexico and I remember Ramsay {I think) giving a part presentation  of a Shakespearean play on a table in what I think was probably a local brothel in Tijuana 

To be fair to the boys I do not think anyone participated in the available pleasures although given the diversity of characters I am not sure I got that right

Anyway  William  I would be very pleased to read what you produce

Obviously I was wrong early when I referred to my contacts with the club as there have been quite a few times when I have caught up with many of the guys at reunions  over the years


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