Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
30 January 2015
In the photo left to right are ex-All Black captain Dave Loveridge, the ex-All Black fullback Allan Hewson, yours truly (who will be back at the same ground commentating rugby sevens in sevens days time). Completing the pic is Adair Cameron, the General Manager of Williment Travel Group, in Wellington. Adair's friendly team hosted we three, and others, watching Sri Lanka playing New Zealand. It was a great night of fun and sporting chat. And watching the game unfold.
Hewson and Loveridge of course were top cricketers as well as All Black heroes in their time. At one point last night they were sharing anecdotes of their time in opposing teams at a Brabin Shield youth rep tournament in Gisborne. Allan went on to play first class cricket for Wellington and Dave was a Hawke Cup rep for his home province of Taranaki. My own 'greatest' moment from the game of cricket was commentating for radio one Plunket Shield match in Whangarei in the early 1970s. I thought I did a fair job but was never invited to do a second game! (However I did make 94 on Whakatiki St No.6 field in Upper Hutt one time. It was in Hutt Valley 3rd Grade D division cricket - and my teammates said I choked!) (I think they were correct!)
At various times over recent years Williment Travel have invited the three of us to lead their All Black Supporter's tours to far flung places in the globe. We have all had wonderful times with them while watching the All Blacks play; all due to the organisational and professional excellence of Williment Travel.
Allan also led a cricket supporter's tour to the last World Cup in the West Indies.
Many thanks Adair and to Jo Boyd and Phil Langridge and the Williment team.
And it's three titles too for captain Farah Palmer. In the final in Edmonton, Canada, New Zealand beat England 25-17
Rosslyn Park and England
4 internationals for England 1936
One of rugby history’s most colourful characters, Prince Alexander Obolensky was the son of Prince Alexis of Russia. The young prince was born in Leningrad in 1916 but was taken to England the following year, presumably to avoid the Russian revolution.
He was educated at Trent College and Brasenose College, Oxford. ‘Obo’, as he was known, was an elegant and speedy wing and his rugby prowess was quickly recognised. Late in 1935 he played for Oxford in the annual Universities match, the first of three appearances in that famous game.
As a 19-year-old, early in 1936, he played for England against New Zealand at Twickenham. England caused an upset by thrashing the All Blacks by 13–0. Obolensky scored two tries, one of which has become a classic. His diagonal run through the New Zealand defence, as he scored for the second time, can still be admired on newsreel film footage and on YouTube. That game thereafter became known by rugby writers as ‘Obolensky’s match’.
After he left Oxford University his form fluctuated and fell away. He won only four caps, all in the 1935–36 season, but his memory is ensured both because of his colourful family background and his extraordinary, if briefly flowering, rugby talent.
A world record in first-class rugby is still entered in some books under Obolensky’s name. ‘Obo’ toured South America with a 'Rugby Football Union' team in 1936 (presumably an English selection), and in a game against Brazil he crossed for 17 tries, still a record for one game, though perhaps the first-class quality of the local XV might be called into question.
When World War II broke out, Obolensky joined the Royal Air Force. He died when the Hawker Hurricane he was piloting crashed on landing in East Anglia. He was the first of 111 rugby internationals from all countries to lose their lives in the conflict.
Dr Danie Craven is often called 'The Father of South African Rugby' - what was he a doctor of?