Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
2 January 2016
Starting off 2016's favourite photo section with a cricket pic instead of rugby? Why not? It's my website! But read on with the slight rugby connection!
In November 2015, just after the end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup my wife and I took a trip to Adelaide to watch the first-ever day/night cricket test.
And it was money well spent!
We loved the game between New Zealand and Australia and its three-day excitement (and also the two days of wine touring South Australia which therefore followed!)
I took my camera to the ground and pointed it at the (historic?) moment when Brendan McCullum packed in seven slips (or four slips and three gulleys) as his NZ team pressed ever aggressively for late wickets to fall by the Aussies on the third night.
The wickets didn't tumble and Australia won - but I think the photo has merit. The seven slips were only in place for about 3 balls.
There was a slight rugby connection for me at the famous Adelaide Oval. For about five years I was part of the broadcast team which commentated sevens there on the IRB tour. But on those occasions I was dumb and numb. Each year the media had, as their working room, the Australian cricket team's dressing room. Around the hallowed walls were honours boards with great cricketing name's achievements listed (including D.G.Bradman's many times)
But in those five years did I take one photograph to possibly include here?
No - not one!
James 'Buster' Barrett, in his time the lightest AB forward, went to WWI in 1915 with the Auckland Mounted Rifles division. His horse was trained for war while away but never saw any action and never returned.
Fylde and England
34 internationals for England 1975–82
7 internationals for British Isles 1977–80
William Blackledge Beaumont was just a lad of 11 when England won the Five Nations championship in 1963. When England next won the championship in March 1980, Beaumont was six days past his 28th birthday and was captain of the team. It was England’s first Grand Slam for 23 years, and it ensured Beaumont a prominent niche in that country’s rugby history.
In the 1970s a depression hung over English rugby – five times in that decade it had finished last in the Five Nations championship. The first signs of resurgence came when Beaumont, who had been a lower grade fullback at his club eight years before and an England lock for four years, led the Northern Division of England to victory over the 1979 All Blacks. His quiet style and unassuming manner belied a determination to succeed on the field. These qualities were somehow transferred to the England team of 1980.
In 1980, Beaumont led the British Isles to South Africa, a controversial tour accompanied by anti-apartheid protests in many parts of the world.
He played well and off the field behaved with quiet dignity. Sadly, his Lions team was not able to win for him another notable victory, going down 1–3 in the series.
Beaumont was a lock who had deceptive pace around the field and excellent ball skills. He was a front-of-the-lineout jumper and his strength at scrum time was a grand help to many an English international effort.
His playing career came to an abrupt end. In the 1982 English county final he complained about a head injury, which had affected him in several previous games, and left the field. Beaumont took medical advice and quit the game, right at the peak of his powers. He was only 29 years old.
There was great sadness in English rugby circles, but the ever-cheerful Beaumont carried on, making a name for himself as a TV commentator, then as a TV sports quiz panelist. He was awarded the OBE in 1982 and a CBE in 2008. He also became a rugby administrator, being England’s delegate to the IRB and in 2002 being voted onto the IRB Executive Committee. He has held that position since.
In 2012 he was elected Chairman of The Rugby Football Union (England).
From 2007 the winning team playing in the English County Championship is awarded the Bill Beaumont Cup.
What did the famous Welsh and British Lions hooker Bobby Windsor achieve on his 42nd birthday?