Edition No. 30 Spring/Summer 2012
News from Members
And finally, more Ramblings
Welcome to the latest issue of Motspur Mumblings. As a non ex Tenisonian it is a great honour for me to be allowed to edit and help put together this august periodical. Old Tenisonians has been an important part of my life for some 25 years now and coming out of retirement in my early 30’s to help Kevin McCarthy build a team entirely of old mates was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
When Kevin contacted me in the late 80’s he told me that he and a few chum(p)s of our old Sunday team when we were teenagers were going to form a casual Saturday side and it would be a gentle kick about for Archbishop Tenisons old boys second team (not reserves I might add) and that there would be no pressure whatsoever, win lose or draw I genuinely believed him! I remembered fondly my early days playing old boys football for the old Danes as a 15 year old while still at school. A gentle kick around with like minded individuals and who cares what the score is! Our first game was away to old Bromleyians and it is a start etched into my memory. A cold autumn day was a precursor to many more cold days running around in shorts and I must say it didn’t get any easier as I got older. And if any of you out there have ever played away to Bromleyians you will know there is no such thing as a ‘gentle kick about’ on their pitches on top of a hill, miles from anywhere (inc Bromley itself). That trip was etched into my subconscious and even now I can’t go anywhere near that area without breaking into a cold sweat. Indeed the only worse place to play was Woking against old Wokingians who provided an equally robust test of our footballing abilities. The only consolation was that some other teams felt the same way about us although I never quite understood why. Until a couple of years later when I saw our first team play who without doubt took competitiveness to a whole new level. Going back to my debut Kevin knew me as a left winger (would any youngster reading this have heard of the position?) and even though I hadn’t put boots on for some 8 or 9 years he assured me it was fine and that I had nothing to worry about. So I waited patiently out on the wing for a pass and our centre half -
During the next 15 years there were to be many many highs with Tenison seconds, a magnificent 4-
But really the whole reason I have stayed so long is the Motspur social life. After the game the clubhouse comes to life and it makes all the kicks and bruises worth it. Over the years at the club I have made so many new friends it takes my breath away. Lovely kind people from all walks of life, and a lot of them old boys of the school.
For all my sins I am now chairman of the football club and first team manager. I’m not sure I can keep both jobs going but I will do whatever it takes to keep the football club carrying on in the great tradition of old Tenisonians. When you walk into the clubhouse at Motspur and see all the old pictures and history and all the mementoes of all the trophies won it really is awe inspiring. For all of you that haven’t made it in a while I would urge you to come and visit us occasionally and say hello. You will be surprised who you will meet at the bar. The football club will have a special open day on Saturday 7th December (2.30pm -
I am very sorry to have to report the passing away of the following four old boys, ALAN BAINES, JOHN CAEN, BILL GONELLA and EDDIE MYERS.
ALAN BAINES 1940-
Sadly, Alan passed away on the 15th June after a protracted series of illnesses.
I met Alan on our very first day at school as two apprehensive “utility” dresses little boys and our friendship endured for 67 years even avoiding pitfalls of me buying a car from him and later marrying his sister.
We progressed through Infants, Junior and Senior Schools together, always in the same classes, until the family arbitrary split into Arts and Science streams in the fourth year at Tensions. He was always a keen sportsman, playing football for the School and being the more skilful member of our defensive partnership for the Hunter House team.
He successfully took GCE “O” and “A” level examinations and on leaving school entered the world of insurance where he studied for, and achieved, his professional qualifications. He subsequently rode the wave of amalgamations and take-
He embarked on a secondary parallel career teaching students in preparation for their professional insurance examinations and also conducted “in house” sessions for many insurance companies. He continued with this affair after retirement until failing health forced him to stop.
After school he joined the Association and soon became a regular player in the Old Boy’s football first eleven continuing the club’s tradition of “no nonsense” defenders. As he grew older he became a stalwart member of the Veterans eleven. His efforts were not confined to the sports field. He undertook committee work and as Social Secretary organised many successful functions before enjoying a term as President of the Association. After his playing days were over he maintained regular contact with Association and school staff members.
While still at school he had joined a local youth club and extended his sporting activities in the football team. At the club, about the age of 14, he met Hazel. I recall them being boy and girl friend from the age of 16 and they married in 1962, having nearly 50 years of married life together. He was a devoted family man and after his daughters were born it was very clear that he loved his children, wanted nothing but the best for them and was intensely proud of their achievements and in later years those of their families. He was always happy in the company of young people particularly his grandchildren and his nephews and nieces in his wider family.
I always found him to be fair, helpful and firm friend. He was very sociable with a keen sense of humour and ready turn of wit, would talk to anyone about almost anything and could be relied upon to come up with a joke or witty anecdote which would not necessarily win the approval of the PC brigade.
His positive attitude stood him in good stead when his health began to fail. Each problem was met with the determination to overcome it and each setback strengthened his resolve. Unfortunately there was one hurdle too many.
Alan was a smashing bloke, a good and loyal friend and I am sure I am not alone when I say that I will miss him a great deal.
Valedictory Notice: John Caen O.T
Readers of the Motspur Mumblings who knew John Caen at school or through the O.T.A. will, I am sure, be sorry to read of his untimely death on 14th March in a hospice near his home in Eastbourne as the result of terminal liver cancer which his doctors had been unable to cure. He was 77 years old.
I first met John Caen when he was a member of the first form at A.T.G.S. and I had recently joined the Staff of the Science Department. At that time I remember him as a slightly rotund cheerful character with a ready smile and a willingness to be useful. In fact I always found John to be happier to be useful rather than ornamental. That trait expanded into his being, together with Brian Tolladay, greatly helpful to Alan Gibbs when he came to teach music at Tensions, a happy state of affairs which Alan Gibbs greatly appreciated. This, in turn, helped John to develop a strong and lasting interest in music. He was an important member of the school choir having a good voice and being able to perform solos at concerts, at the Lambeth School’s Music Festival, and at several Christmas Carol Services in St. Martin in the Fields.
When he left school in his fifth year with a reasonable score in O-
Of course I had at that time lost contact (as one tended to do with many ex pupils), however, by chance some few years later John and Christine, his wife, came to live in the same parish as myself and we met while shopping. Before long he had joined St.Aiden’s church, a daughter church of St.Jude’s which I attended. In no time at all he had taken on a post of Choirmaster and Organist there, but before he could become the latter, he had, with help from a number of practically inclined members of the congregation, to buy a small organ from a redundant church and rebuild it in St.Aiden’s. No small achievement! But one which rather upset Christine when John washed the entire mucky organ pipes in their bath.
On the closure of St.Aiden’s John was appointed Director of Music at St.Jude’s and went on to revitalise our choir introducing a new range of anthems and choral works in support of worship. Furthermore, John took an active part in church administration being elected to the Prechoral Church Council to which he brought in addition to his musical skills a useful knowledge of book-
This led to a protracted hunt for a new electronic organ for the church, and I remember spending some enjoyable hours visiting churches and exhibitions to hear a variety of modern organs. We finally found one we liked and had it installed. John was in his element.
However, it wasn’t only in music that he showed talent. He also wrote and produced a number of plays based on well-
John was a very strong influence for good in the church and his moving away as illness became more severe was felt as a great loss to our church life. We lost a valued worker to our ministry.
Long before this however, John and Christine had become firm friends of myself and other members of the A.T.G.S. staff. John also played cricket and occasional football with the O.T.A. and became a regular attender of various social occasions – he was a natural socialiser and was particularly fond of joining a select band of Old Tenisonians when we met for lunch or supper (these get-
Bill was a husband, father, grandfather and a very good friend. I was fortunate to know him. He was worth knowing.
It would be foolish to pretend that I can fully empathise with Bill’s painful suffering over the last few years. Certainly, it has been an extremely distressing time for him & of course, his family who has distinguished themselves with their support, care and love. Now, sadly, he has gone. It is right that we should celebrate his life. Bill was a good bloke. This is not faint praise it’s an accolade that is given sparingly by male acquaintances and friends. Loyalty, trust, honesty, good humour, generosity, companionship are all prime requirements and he failed in none of them. He was a life time supporter of Millwall. How’s that for loyalty! Bill attended Archbishop Tension’s Grammar School, where we met. He subsequently played football and cricket for the Old Boys Association. After serving for 3 years in the RAF, some of which time was spent on the then violent island of Cyprus, Bill joined BOAC, later to become BA, where he met his lovely wife Edwina, who had attended the same school as my wife Carol.
Carol still blames Bill for engineering our meeting. The 1960’s were a great time for all – weekend parties in London (Earl’s Court being the favourite), Easter football tours with the Old boys, which usually involved marathon sing-
It cannot be said that Bill had a great voice, but he had a very loud one and knew more old musical songs that anyone else so intended to lead the singing. His awesome version of “Bits and Pieces” shook the floors of many sports pavilions and pubs.
Once married, life became a little more sedate for us all, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves especially at New Year when either Bill & Edwina or Bob & Joan Daws, or Ken& Ann Langford hosted parties.
When playing football eventually became a somewhat less attractive proposition, Bill concentrated more on golf. He disliked slow play and thoroughly enjoyed hitting the ball as far off the tee as possible. In later years he became captain of the Senior Sections of his club.
Bill was a very good friend of mine. I respected him, trusted him and admired the courage and optimism which shone through even in the darkest days of his illness. We were also friends as families. We shall miss him terribly.
Our thoughts are now with Edwina, Natalie and Tim.
EDDIE MYERS 1937-
I am sorry to report the passing of Eddie Myers, who died on 2 November at the age of 75. Eddie had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for five years.
Eddie will be remembered by many Old Tenisonian footballers as a referee in the Old Boys Football League, but by many more as a member of the OTA Cricket Club for many years.
Eddie was an Old Thorntonian but, in the mid-
Eddie played on as a member of Old Thorns Vets Football Club into his 60s and represented the interests of ‘outside’ users of Motspur Park on the Sports Ground Committee.
We send our condolences to his wife Felicity and his sons Russell, Jonathan and Philip: the latter occasionally turning out, as a youngster, for the Third Eleven when we were short.
Over the last few recent issues of the mumblings it seems to me that the cricketers seemed to have played second fiddle to the football teams, particularly in terms of honours won. Not anymore! We have a new first team cricket captain, some new young blood and a winning team. The seasons exploits are below and I urge you all to read Corrie’s report of last season particularly the final, played at the Oval, surely the spiritual home of all Tenisonian cricketers. All of us at the club are very proud of you and the boys Corrie, well done mate.
Our 2012 campaign was moderately successful. One of our aims was to be crowned the 2012 division 2 1st XI Fullers Brewery champions and I thoroughly believed that this goal was achievable however a number of factors prevented us from achieving this goal. The rain didn't help any teams in the league this year but it seems that we were disproportionately affected. It's got to be said that the rain during May and June this year was unprecedented and the amount of rain broke all the records since records began. Out of the 16 fixtures (9 at home & 7 away), 5 fixtures at home were abandoned due to rain. Other clubs were not spared and the average abandoned match per team in our league was 3. We have been very fortunate to have John join our club as grounds man. I am very excited about the future of this club with him involved. More about John later. Coming back to the rain, unfortunately our covers weren’t up to scratch and as a result some of our games had to be abandoned due to insufficient coverage on the square. The problem with our pitch covers was identified and new pitch covers were obtained thanks to the endeavours of Alan.
The current league rules are such that only four points are awarded in the event of an abandoned match. I wrote to the league and suggested that this be revised such that a system of average points is introduced but I had not anticipated the bureaucracy of the Fullers league cricket administrators. All hope is not lost however I may have to attend the AGM in order to put forward my motion to change the rules concerning abandoned matches. Time will tell as to whether I can be bothered to pursue this...
But of course the main reason for failing to achieve our goal in winning the league was not the rain but our inability to perform consistently. Out of the six teams that finished above us only 1 managed to beat us! Let me repeat that, only 1 team manage to beat us! 1 match was abandoned, we won 3 and we recorded a draw against the eventual league winners Frimley who sportingly acknowledged us to be the best team they had played in the league. At that stage they had played all the top teams. Out of the 10 teams that finished below us, 4 matches were abandoned, 3 were lost and 3 were won.
One can see how the abandoned matches hurt us here because these were the matches where we could've scored maximum points. However given our inconsistency, who knows what would've happened in these abandoned matches?
In conclusion, we finished 7th overall in the league which was a minor improvement when compared to the previous year where we finished 8th overall. Due to the changes in the league format for 2013 we will be relegated to third division.
However, I don't believe this comparison adequately Illustrates how far we have come in our understanding of the league this year. After all, we only lost 4 games. I really look forward to playing in Division III next year and our aim next year should not only be to win the league but also to remain unbeaten.
Unfortunately, our inconsistency in the league continued to haunt us in the T/20 tournament this year. Once again we were not spared any mercy from the rain as one of our games was abandoned due to rain. We did however manage to win 2/3 games however we lost the vital game vs Deando Ruxley where we were one-
Fortunately our performance in the CUP was what's defined us this year. Once it was official that the cup final would-
Had it not been for our triumphant CUP season we would have been left disappointed with our season but we turned it around and only for the second time in the history of the CUP competition did a 2nd division side make it to the final and beat a 1st division league side to win the league CUP.
As far as individual performances were concerned there were some notable ones this year and I've aggregated the results across all formats.
In the batting department Steve Cummings once again reigned supreme scoring 564 runs at an average of 35.25. Steve finished second in the league. In Second-
As far as the bowlers were concerned top honours went to the grandfather Bryan Haslam (turning 40 soon) who took an impressive 35 wickets an average of 12.77. In 2nd place, the old warhorse Coetzee Muller took 29 wickets an average of 27.68. James Varney chipped in with an impressive 14 wickets an average of 21.64 while Ryan Lang took 12 wickets and average of 20.2. Two of our bowlers finished in the top 20 bowlers in the league.
In the fielding department Steve Cummings took 15 catches and was responsible for 5 run outs making him the runaway winner with 20 wickets! We all know that these accolades won't go to Steve's head...
In closing, I have a number of thank yous to make. In no particular order, firstly to Alan and John who tirelessly work behind the scenes to ensure that we are able to do what we love and that is to play cricket. Without their hard work and dedication to preparing consistent good pitches week in and week out none of this would've been possible. On behalf of the club I thank you both. We are very privileged to have both of these gentlemen involved with our club and our future is bright with these two men involved.
Then I would like to thank the umpires Graham Pinkney, Muhammad Ali and Johan Seesahai. These guys offer their time and money and we may not always realise the difficult job that they have in officiating and making split second decisions. A thankless task indeed. To these guys I say thank you and applaud your commitment, especially Graham Pinkney. Thank you to all.
Then I would like to thank the WAGS who are the forgotten pillars behind the men. They say behind every strong man is a stronger woman and God knows with these bunch of guys together in the pub after the game they need to be strong and patient. Let's hope that their patience with all the long hours away from home will continue as they play a very important role in our continued involvement with the club.
Then I would like to thank Ryan my vice-
Last but not least, I would like to thank the players for their unwavering support during the season. Having the quality of teammates as I did this year makes being captain a real honour and privilege! Words cannot express my gratitude. Thank you.
Finally, we will need an urgent recruitment drive in 2013 for the future as well as urgent look at the state of our outdoor net(s) if we are to ensure the continued survival of our club. We urgently need to consider the introduction of a colt’s side. I earnestly believe that we are at the crossroad and if we do nothing our club will not survive. Finance is of concern and in 2013 we must ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated. I'm specifically referring to the Surrey cricket board's raffle ticket incentive. There is an easy £400 up for grabs" and for a 2nd year in a row we have not pounced on this easy opportunity for cash! All it takes is for each player to sell 20 tickets for £1 each to raise £400 for the club. Unfortunately if the facilities are not up to scratch we will not be able to attract sufficient players to ensure the continued survival of the club.
2012 cricket club captain
We had a very pleasant reunion cricket match at Motspur Park yesterday. The square was too wet, but we cut and rolled a pitch on the outfield. Players included Taff Evans, Ronnie Byrne, John Tyler, Paul Quinton, Terry Gerloff, Chris Bullen, Pete Henry, Roy Sanwell, 'Mo' Moriarty, me and my grandson Samuel. Terry Smith put in an appearance on his way back from Goodwood. There were quite a few wives present and we had a barbecue afterwards.
And Taff’s turn on the same event!
Having played both football and cricket for the Old Boys, as the football season drew to a close, my mind would turn to spending warm Saturday afternoons probably making a couple of stumpings off of Codsy's mystifying spin bowling, then opening the batting and knocking off a quick fifty on the way to a deserved victory. Of course, this is never how it panned out! If Codsy ever beat the bat it was generally down to sheer exhaustion on the batters part, having spent the previous two and a half hours smashing our bowlers to all parts of Motspur Park and beyond. Inevitably I would then open the batting chasing in the region of 560 from 45 overs. The wicket that had previously looked impossible to get out on, turned into a veritable minefield resulting in my falling victim to an unplayable delivery. Either that or being wrongly given out by our own umpire, usually someone bearing a grudge or who I owed money to (or probably both!).
Anyway, during the annual Old Boy's lunch in April, when John Tyler suggested a sort of inter club cricket match sometime in August, the old rose coloured spectacles kicked in as usual. Unfortunately, when the day arrived, it was the weather rather than the tortuous nature of the cricket that threatened to put a spanner in the works. It had been raining continuously all morning and it was a credit to everyone that they still bothered to arrive at the ground, more though hope than expectation. However, when the rain stopped, no-
Given the sodden conditions we decided to play with a soft ball and dispense with pads and gloves etc., but this in truth probably evened things out between the gifted and slightly less gifted players and made the result a lot closer than it might have been (to be honest I can't remember who won!)
A few brief highlights. Bognor taking a great diving catch (no mean feat for a 6ft 4 ageing headmaster. AB keeping wicket to the bowling of his grandson, Samuel. John Tyler finally managing to get past my usually impenetrable forward defensive
Hopefully, this Summer will be kinder with the weather and I'm already dreaming of making a couple of stumpings and scoring a quick fifty....................
DAVID EVANS aka Taff
Your Editor, Dickie, has asked me to nominate my best-
My brief from Dickie was to choose from players that I had played with and who had played for the Club for at least a season. So the span goes from 1958-
You may remember that in the last Motspur Mumbling, readers were invited to submit their fantasy OT Cricket X1 to compare with one which I had drawn up. So here goes with mine:-
Jim Butcher (Captain)
Fred Hall (Wicket Keeper)
Bob Blewer, Dave Sadler and John Halsey all responded to the invitation in the last issue to submit their fantasy team. Their selections largely tallied with mine but also included Glenn Mollan, Keith Harsham, Gary Kedney, Bobby Clifton and John Brimacombe (who had all come into my reckoning as well).
Dickie also asked me to pen a brief line or two about my selected team:-
Neville Perkins has been the most consistent opening batsman that the Club has ever had. He combines the flair of the West Indian stroke maker with a faultless defence. An outstanding fielder and a useful slow bowler, he gained representative honours with the Slazenger League and still turns out for the OTA every weekend. His golden season was in 1993 when he scored a total of 1,569 runs at an average of 52.3.
Mick Myerson was another player whose success was based on a very sound technique, which I first witnessed in 1966 when he scored a big hundred for the School against the OTA. A particularly strong cutter and hooker, we were unfortunately deprived of more of Mick’s services when he emigrated to Australia. On a return visit to the UK about five years ago, Mick guested for the Club and scored an accomplished fifty.
Dennis Bartlett played for the Club from 1946 to 1964 and was the outstanding Tenisonian cricketer of his time. An attacking left-
Alan Ewart was an elegant stroke maker who could hit the ball hard without any apparent effort. I was privileged to share a number of stands with Alan during the ‘60s and ‘70s before he went to play at a higher level for Wallington CC. Alan returned to play for the Club when we entered League cricket and was also worth his place in the side for his fine outswing bowling.
Graham Butcher developed from a capable young cricketer into an outstanding attacking batsman who was capable of ‘taking an attack apart’. Tall, with a full flowing bat, Graham represented Oxford University. He scored 200 not out for the Club in 2004 in a Slazenger League match against Westfield, which included seven sixes.
Graham Baker won my vote over other strong contenders, largely because I wanted another left-
Jim Butcher came to the Club relatively late in his career but immediately made his mark as a fine all-
Jack Hewitt first played for the OTA before the War as a hard-
Barry Mercer first played for the OTA in the late 1960s while still at School. His accurate slow left-
Fred Hall to keep wicket. Fred made his OTA debut in the mid-
Grant Hubbard joined the Club in the 1990s and was to become its outstanding fast bowler and leading wicket-
Derek Hazell was a tall, strong left-
Well there is my selection. I have not had time to research the records, so these pen pictures are from memory (which I hope is not too faulty or dimmed with age!).
In composing this article, it has occurred to me that 2013 will mark for me 60 years of being associated with Motspur Park, as I began my football and cricket days there when I joined Archbishop Tenison’s Grammar School in 1953. I made my cricket debut for the OTA in 1958 and went on to play for the Club for 46 seasons, until I retired in 2003 at the age of 61. I then enjoyed several seasons umpiring for the Club, but eventually hung up my counters in 2008. As General Manager of the Sports Ground (and occasional groundsman’s ‘assistant’) I still visit Motspur Park every week. Perhaps I might dust off my bat and box in 2013 for one final outing to mark the sixty years!
Well it’s my considered opinion that if any one person deserves a special day to be honoured by the club it’s Alan. I’m sure you all will agree. The amount of work he does behind the scenes is incredible. We would not have had a football team without him on our side that’s for sure. If anyone has any ideas as to how we could do something, please call me!
As Alan has said I also asked Neville to also name his team of galacticos to play Archbishop Tensions old boys from the Mars outpost and here is his selection.
(1) Neville Perkins -
(2) James Butcher -
(3) Zac Ioannou -
(4) Jim Lee -
(5) Graham Baker -
(6) Gary Jupp -
(7) Gary Kedney -
(8) Jim Butcher -
(9) Dave Clark -
(10)Grant Hubbard -
(11)Jock Mellor -
(12)Michael Vaughan -
Thank you Alan and Neville, very interesting to see so many of the same names in both your teams! And would your best team be different? Please let us know
At the end of last year a new groundsman was appointed at Motspur, John Crawford aka chef. This is his story.
From the 1st march last year I was excited to be officially given the position of grounds man at this historic club. A club I have known for several years prior to this post. I was an asst manager of one of the football teams. During that time I have made some very good friends and felt welcomed into the club quickly. It is clear this club has a strong core of loyal members dating back many years. The support I have received from the cricket and football clubs has been tremendous. Support I wasn't expecting to this degree. The support and volumes of information, help received from one Alan Baker has been incredible, and it was much needed in this first year with the adverse weather conditions both sides of the club have experienced. The grounds here are unpredictable in many ways. Just when you begin to think one thing they will set there selves up allowing you to continue work and get games on. It’s almost as if they have a mind of their own. But we are getting to know each other now and they are getting better with a little bit more attention. When they try to fool me, Alan Baker is there to let me know, and we wait and work on them and they generally come good. Another chapter learned. So the future is positive.
If we can work on Mother Nature a little bit and try and get her onside a bit more we will experience some fabulous playing conditions. Some areas of the grounds need more attention than others but with a bit of work and thought the whole grounds will shape up into the vision I have for them. Some of the machinery we have is dated, but functional and as long as it functions it can be used. Like anything if you treat it right it will work for you. First impressions of the club start at the gate, I have worked on this area but that won’t be seen till later next month. When the summer comes we should look very pretty, a clean, care for club. A welcoming club that befits our hospitality. Both the cricket and football clubs will see this as the summer progresses. Our clubhouse has so much potential too. Already some things have been done inside and around the clubhouse, but everything is on-
The neighbours have been taking a bit more interest in the grounds, game's, and asking questions about the club. I speak to them often while "trotting" about on my tractor. I have invited them all to come and watch us, have a beer, and see who we are. Some have ventured into the clubhouse, only a few so far. Work in progress. Our facilities are so good we can boast such users on a Sunday as, current surrey cup holders Merton galaxy. Fulham deaf Ladies, and more recently A.F.C Wimbledon senior Ladies. We have held Ladies F.A cup games. And, in the past hosted cup finals on our grounds for the A.F.C and O.B cups. A proud note to mention. One we can keep on with. All at little old Motspur park, a smallish grassy area tucked in behind a suburban area. That can boast many champion winning teams over the years. Who wouldn't want to be part of this club? I count myself so lucky. Now I only have to deliver!!
On behalf of the football wallahs at Motspur I can only reiterate Corrie cricket’s words that we couldn’t have appointed a better groundsman.
.....And talking of football it has been a tough couple of years for us followers of the beautiful game. I’m sorry to report that the football team are still under pressure from the league to improve its spirit of football and its disciplinary record. Slowly but surely we believe we are improving and indeed the club winning the Ken Fletcher award for most improved club was a testament to that.
We felt the award was thoroughly merited but unfortunately within a fortnight of us receiving the trophy the league wrote to us and told us ‘ that not everyone on the league committee wanted us to have the trophy!’ I must admit I felt like throwing it back but decided that discretion was the better part of valour in this instance but I and a lot of others felt very upset at this cheap comment from the league secretary.
I know we are not saints I can’t help thinking the league are victimising us and that someone up there on the leagues head table really doesn’t like us. My personal theory is that our nemesis, the league secretary, one Danny McConnell, must have played against us many years ago, got soundly thrashed (one way or another) and decided he would never forgive or forget us.
2 incidents spring to mind from the middle of last season that just maybe illustrate my point. Firstly our 3rd team had a home fixture at Motspur against Glyn (they were top, we were bottom) and it was a pretty fair game apart from one Glyn player acting aggressively to our boys. Anyway midway through the second half a heated scuffle broke out between one of our players and the aforementioned lad from Glyn, handbags were involved and as well as other players from both sides stepping in to break up the melee one of our spectators also came on the pitch to stop the situation. At that the Glyn player manager goal keeper walked off the pitch saying that’s it, the games over, Tenisons are ruffians (or words to that effect) we are not playing anymore. And off he went. A couple of his players went with him but most of the team just stood there in disbelief. The refs report confirmed the above. The league however threw the book at us, £50 fine, points against us for abandoning the game etc. We felt we were almost innocent.
To me a certain miscarriage of justice however... a few weeks later my first team went over to play Old Dorkingians first team. We were third, they were top and unbeaten all season. We had gone up with them last season and all games with them had been hard but generally fair. Apart from one incident at their place the previous year. My son Michael (5’6’’ – 10st) had fairly tackled their star player (6’1’’ – 14st) and when the ball had gone away the Dorking player kicked Michael who was still on the ground. Luckily the ref spotted it out of the corner of his eye and booked the boy. A few of our players did remonstrate with the ref but the incident was soon forgotten. We were expecting an equally tough game this time and we were not disappointed. We took the lead, they equalised and then edged in front, all in the first 20 minutes. However what was noticeable was the ref had made some obvious decisions against us. Nothing really unusual there because it happens to all teams but the ref was not only siding with the home team (in our opinion) but discussing decisions with them while talking to them and using their first names. I’m sure pro refs do that all the time! 20 minutes gone and we had a clear penalty denied when the keeper rugby tackled our centre forward in the box. The keeper didn’t touch the ball but the tackle would have made Gavin Henson proud. The ref gave a corner. The very very large home support on the line burst into laughter alongside me. I knew then it was going to be a bad day for us. With 10 minutes to go to half time the incident occurred. Michael wasn’t playing that day (working in joburg for 10 weeks – he could have flown back for the games) but the next smallest player in our team is jake, 5’9’’ 10 st and you guessed it, their star player (same lad as before) kicked him when he was down off the ball too. This time however he took his time and waited for the ref to turn his back. The incident happened some 10 yards in front of me and indeed in front of the bulk of the vociferous home support. The ref didn’t see it but everyone one else did. Within a split second I turned to remonstrate verbally with the opposing manager (noticeably younger and bigger) and he made his way over to me at pace and grabbed me by the lapels and started shaking me violently. I of course grabbed him back and although our handbags didn’t come out it could have been a worrying situation if we hadn’t been separated by other members of the crowd. Meanwhile though all hell had broken loose on the pitch. Some of our players had got involved in the incident but, and this is the reason for this little note you are reading, a few of our players were then attacked by half a dozen of supporters who had run on the pitch. Eventually, after some 15 minutes, things cooled down. The upshot? Sam our captain was sent off for punching a spectator who had attacked him! He couldn’t ‘book’ the boy that caused the riot because he hadn’t seen it. Anyway we then really threatened to throw our toys out of the pram and he reduced Sam’s sending off to a booking but he also said he was abandoning the game. Their manager (who spent the rest of the afternoon apologising for his behaviour), me and the senior players from both sides all urged the ref to carry on and we all promised him to be on our best behaviour. The ref said ok, we’ll try and then we played for a few minutes more and the ref called the half time break. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to placate my boys but to no real avail. The second half started and we were back in the game and looking to equalise. The ref then must have decided we were playing too well so he then sent off our star forward Lee Cooper (who had been tapped up by the Dorking manager earlier in the day!) for persistent moaning (I had no real complaints about the decision but Lee was one of the players physically assaulted by the encroaching supporters) which meant the game was over from that point. We quickly lost 3 or 4 goals and there is no doubt that 3 of my team went missing in the second half. They weren’t worried about the ball, they just wanted to hurt people. In the end we had 5 booked but the ref apologised to me at the end and said ‘I’m sorry the game went the way it did, I could have sent a couple of your boys off (he’s right there!) but I knew they were upset!’
I am sorry to say it’s the probably the only time I have played or managed at a senior level where the ref definitely cheated. And how do I know he cheated? He didn’t report the incident. He reported the sending off and the booking. But he didn’t report the incident where a near riot occurred and we were blameless. He cheated throughout the game and after the game. He was a nice man though.
And here’s the thing. The league view? Nothing, nada, nil, zilch. Not mentioned anywhere, apart from our small report of course. Nothing! Now you might say that this is because Old Dorkinians have 2 representatives who sit at the top table of the league. That would be a petty thing to say. I prefer to say that it was an administrative oversight.
So someone from our club at Motspur runs on the pitch to stop a fight (confirmed by the referees report) and the league throw the book at us. Me and a couple of my players get attacked on the pitch by half a dozen spectators and it’s lost in the admin process.
You tell me, are we being victimised?
We are nevertheless keeping an eye on our marks and we are currently in the top third of the all-
The teams are all doing okay but like the cricket team we will be heavily recruiting in the summer, so if any of you out there know any players please do not hesitate to send them down to our own field of dreams, Motspur Park.
And on that same note, I was speaking to Ben fourth team the other day about the mumblings and he said that a new player from upt’north (its grim up there) would like to pen a line or two about joining us. Here is his note.
I joined the Tens 4th XI in September 2012 having moved down from Yorkshire and looking for a South London club, choosing the club over another I was on trial for (Bloody cheek! Ed.) The 4thXV captain made me feel very welcome and I was impressed with the pitches and the clubhouse which are top facilities for an amateur old boys club. I played for the 3rd XI in a pre-
Passion. Determination. He’ll fit right in! Any relation to Terry Smith I wonder? Thank you Alex, and if you know anyone out there that fancies a gentle kick about we’d love to see them.
As with the cricketers I asked a couple of old stalwarts of the football club Mickey Brown (Brownie) and Terry Smith (Spiffy) to drop me a line with their best ever teams to play Tenisons in that parallel universe on Mars, this is what they came up with.
Thanks mate! what an onerous task you have given me to pick my best Old Boys Team to play the school team from Mars ! Over the years I was fortunate enough to play with so many very good players and some exceptional characters as well. To try and put some perspective on my selections its best if I give a brief resume of my experience at the football club.
My Old Tenisonian football career,(and I use that term loosely as many who played with me will agree),started in the mid 1960's whilst I was still at school .Like so many other boys of that era my first experience was with Brian Brearley's 6th X1.On leaving school in 1968 I went into the 1st X1 where I played off and on for the O.T's until the late seventies. Roger Parker got me,(back from illness), and Bob Blewer,(back from Abu Dhabi) playing again for the Vets/4th X1 in 1982. I was back in the 1st X1 for season 85/86 at the end of which the knees and ankles told me it was time to pack up again. I reappeared for a couple of years in the "new" 4th X1 of the late 80's.
Here goes! Apologies to the many I do not mention in dispatches !
In goal Dave Sadler, big brave and with a prodigious kick, he was a decent centre half as well.
Right back ,Pete Leberl just gets the nod in front of Lou Baker and Andy Bettell, many will remember Pete as a flying winger but in his later years he converted to a decent full back.
Centre half Bob "Larry" Lambert, a gentleman on and off the pitch but as hard as nails when needed.
Centre back Terry Smith, best header of a ball in my time at the club .Uncompromising character physically and mentally.
Left back Jon Moore, Bristol Rovers, Millwall, Bournemouth, Maidstone United, Gravesend....O.T's...Great left foot. One look at his badly broken nose would convince the boys they were in for a hard game.
Right midfield Peter Deadman, tough choice between him and Ernie Pope .
Centre midfield and captain Roger Parker. Roger epitomises everything that was good about Old Boy's football and O.T's in particular. Very competitive with a never say die attitude, he was respected by team mates and opposition alike. Never let the team or more importantly the club down. Would show the schoolboys how the game should be played on and off the pitch.
Centre midfield Roy Sanwell, another very competitive player, should have played at a higher level.
Left midfield Gerry Reardon, came to the Old Boys after a spell in pre-
Striker, Phil Unwin, a very skilful player who joined a little late in his career but a prolific goal scorer.
Striker Les Parodi, a fierce left foot whose professional career was cut short by injury .
Subs : John Sanderson, Andy Bettell, Steve Monger-
Terry smith best ever XI
Terry refused even after many requests to give the reasons why he chose who he chose bout of course ours is not to reason why...
My feeling is though that if there were to be a game he would be in the eleven!
Thanks for your contribution chaps and unlike the cricket not too many of the same names. What about you? What’s your best ever team. Or was there one game either at school or with the old boys you remember over all others? The mumblings would like to hear from you
As mentioned before the football club would like to cordially invite you all to a day of revelry at Motspur of the first Saturday of December for 2.30 ish onwards. Come down watch a game and have a drink on us.
YOUR CLUB NEEDS YOU
AND LAST BUT DEFINATELY NOT LEAST. READ THIS...AND ACT UPON IT!!!
This year's School Dinners is the 13th event. All have been at the Saint Georges hotel, Langham Place, W1. It's a great venue with a wonderful view over the West End. We normally get about 60 OTs ranging in age from 35ish to over 80.Most return year after year! We have drinks before in the bar, then a 3 course lunch (great food) and then repair to the pub for an evening of intellectual banter with our peers. It's a really good gig -
Details from me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01959 562888 or 07831 407808.tickets are £ 31.50. Cheers, Eddie
Thanks Eddie, let’s all do our best to get there, a year missed is a year wasted.
So that’s it folks, another edition of the mumblings over, I will hand over the baton to the next volunteer who will I am sure be a lot more organised than me. This club has been a major part of my life for the last 20 or so years and I do sincerely hope that it will be for the next 20 years. I love you all and I do hope to meet you at either at school dinners in April, the football club Xmas do on the first Saturday in December or at Motspur any Saturday. Come down and get involved!